New Orleans Pelicans Stick San Antonio Spurs 97-90

Published: December 26, 2014

The New Orleans Pelicans climb back over 0.500 with a 97-90 victory over the San Antonio Spurs, bring their record to 15-14. They face the Chicago Bulls tomorrow on the standard distribution channels.

The game did not start off well. In his post-game interview, Coach Williams addressed the matter, sparing the guys a bit by saying that the holidays were tough on the guys. While that might be true, I’m not sure that the holidays for the Spurs, and their game against the Thunder, was not just as tough. Duncan had 10 of his 20 eventual points in the first 6 minutes, and the 2 others Spurs’ points came off a Duncan assist. He was also having his way with Davis in their few early encounters.

Following the first quarter, which the Pelicans lost 24-20, the team picked up their game and took the second 28-20. The Pelicans never lost the lead in the second half despite some valiant Parkerless-Spurs’ runs.

Key to the game, as mentioned in the open thread, were both rebounding and turnovers. The Pelicans won the turnover battle 17-8, and the rebounding shook out as follows: 7 Pelicans offensive rebounds v 38 Spurs defensive rebounds (~15%), 37 Pelicans defensive rebounds v 1 Spurs offensive rebound (~2.5%).

It should be noted that the Pelicans also went 21 of 24 from the line while the Spurs went only 10 of 14 despite the teams having approximately equal fouls called (17 against the Spurs compared to 15 against the Pelicans). The 11 point different from the line may seem to loom large, but the Spurs also shot more efficiently: the Pelicans needed 84 shots to get get 35 baskets while the Spurs got 37 in just 75 shots; both teams hit 6 threes, but the Spurs had only 14 attempts, 17 for the Pelicans. The extra and lengthy possessions are the weak spots for the Spurs, and tonight, the Pelicans took advantage.

  • Davis’ night was nice, but what was really special was to see him take over for a stretch in the third where he was getting to the line, scoring, blocking (3), rebounding, and tied Duncan up for a jump ball . . . all in about 4 minutes.
  • Despite going 2 of 6 on three-point shots, Anderson had a great night. He matched Davis’ 22 points and his 6 of 6 from the line, going 5 of 9 from 2. He also had some really nice defense on Tim Duncan in stretched. Anderson gets a bad reputation on defense, and one that is deserved . . . when he’s guarding fast, driving players out on the wing. Slower players in a tighter space, those he can clearly hold his own with. It’s a clear case of a player needing a certain situation to succeed, but the world and the team not building itself around each player’s needs. Let’s give Anderson the credit he deserves for getting it done for this team when his 3 point volume was (smartly) taken away.
  • Belinelli was held to 13 points on 14 shots, and just 1 of 4 from 3. This is a good performance against one of their (many) 3-point shooters, the guy who won the 3-point contest last All-Star Weekend in New Orleans, and the former New Orleans Hornets player.
  • Cory Joseph had a career high in points without having a career high in minutes tonight. Do not mistake tonight’s win for an improvement in wing defense, and do not mistake that team for the real Spurs. The Pelicans still have a ton of work to do. By the same token, the Pelicans are not the real Pelicans until the real Eric Gordon returns. That said, enjoy the win, and, breaking ties aside, they all count the same for going to the playoffs.


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