Pelicans Remind Everyone It Isn’t How You Start but How You Finish

Published: January 19, 2016

After going down by as many as 17 points in the first half, the Pelicans were able to turn it around and beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 114-99. It is the 3rd win in 4 games for the Pels, and a good start to their 7-game home stand if they hope to get back in the playoff picture.

Anthony Davis had a big night, reminding the league that Karl Anthony Towns has some catching up to do before being considered the next big big-man: Davis put in a game-high 35 points (13/22 from the field, 8/10 from the line). Towns did have a nice night himself, with 20pts and 13rebs, his 20th double-double of the season. It was a fun matchup to watch, but the story tonight for the Pels, again, is the play of Jrue Holiday. He continues to look more and more like his All-star self: 19pts (50% shooting), 9asts, 1tov, no fouls in 27minutes.

The Pelicans gave up 38 points in the 1st Quarter, but 22 first-half points from Anthony Davis kept them in the game. The Pels didn’t have an issue scoring, 25 in the 1st, 26 in the 2nd, 31 in the 3rd, and 32 in the 4th, but to begin the game Minnesota got anything they wanted.

What really turned it around was just more effort and focus on the defensive end, and it really showed. After scoring 38 in the 1st, the Timberwolves only managed 22, 15(!!!), and 24 in the last 3 quarters. The 1st and 3rd quarters were night and day. Guys were getting stuck in, diving on the floor, challenging shots, and fighting on defensive possessions for a change. The play of the game was at the end of the 3rd Q. Holiday drained a midrange shot with under 3 seconds left, and milliseconds later Dante Cunningham stole the inbounds pass and beat the buzzer with a layup to give the Pels their largest lead of the game to that point. Cunningham finished with 11 points on 6 shots, one of his better offensive outings.

But in typical Pelicans fashion, even when they win they lose. Eric Gordon fractured a finger in his right hand, there is no timetable for his return. The injury could be worse, but the timing couldn’t be.

Some notes on the game:

Tyreke Evans only recorded 21 minutes tonight. Whether that was planned (as he is coming off an injury) or not is up in the air, but he was conspicuously absent the 2nd half. He didn’t play the entire 4th. Evans shot over 50% and dished out 5 assists, but was out of sync in his limited minutes, logging 4 of the Pels 15 turnovers.

Ryan Anderson didn’t make a shot until the 4th quarter. He finished with 7 points, going 1/6 from the field. At the end of the 1st half, Kevin Garnett, being the crafty vet he is, was able to draw a foul on Anderson while simultaneously slapping him in the face. The two had been pretty chippy up until then but it is safe to say Garnett will “win” most of those exchanges.

Here’s the vid:

Before the game I said the Pels would have to do a good job keeping the Timberwolves off the line. Well they shot 31FTs and made 24….but the Pels managed to make 20 of their own. I also pointed out they would need to bounce back from a poor 3pt-shooting night against Memphis and they certainly succeeded (10 of 23 from deep). Dante Cunningham was a big reason, as he drained 3/4, and Gordon hit 3 of his as well.

All in all a good win for the Pels despite the poor start. Haven’t been able to say that too often this season. Next up for the Pels the Detroit Pistons come to town Thursday night. Flock Up!


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