The game came down to the final two minutes. The Pelicans led 91-90 with 2:28 to go, and Carmelo Anthony decided he would not lose. Primarily guarded by Anthony Davis (although some clever screen action switched Luke Babbitt onto Anthony more than once) scored on three consecutive possessions while New Orleans failed to create scoring opportunities. Carmelo scored those three possessions all within the paint. Meanwhile, Monty Williams and the Pelicans countered those three possessions with:
- A late shot clock 27 foot three point attempt by Eric Gordon
- A Brian Roberts turnover attempting to rotate the ball 30+ feet from the basket
- A Brian Roberts mid range jump shot
And Monty Ball, in the end, loses. As you would expect it to considering the circumstances. Poor execution, failing to get into an offensive set quickly, too much Brian Roberts dribbling -- this game had it all in just the last two minutes. Rather than default to allow Tyreke Evans create the offense (as he is more effective with the ball in his hands and Roberts is a much better threat on the catch-and-shoot) we were again subjected to the worst of hero ball both directions. It worked for New York because rather than initiate hero ball with a second year man who spent most of his professional career in Europe, the Knicks were using one of the greatest pure scorers alive. Carmelo Anthony>Brian Roberts is not an insult, it is just the truth. We will always have this highlight though.
- Luke Babbitt was excellent tonight. Hustle, extending possessions, made a critical three point shot, and just all around smart basketball. I like him and hope he continues to be a piece of the puzzle.
- Anthony Davis attempted one shot in the fourth quarter. Despite a rather lackluster game he still managed to fill up most of the box score: 14 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 5 blocks. His teammates need to look for him more.
- Eric Gordon was excellent tonight, but don't expect rave reviews. 28 points on 17 shots is good basketball in the NBA. Oh, and zero turnovers.
- Austin Rivers was pretty brilliant in the second quarter as Prigioni and Hardaway Jr. were both victimized by his crossover. Oh, AND HE MADE A LAYUP OVER TYSON CHANDLER WITH HIS LEFT HAND.
- Any discussion of the Pelicans needing a stopper for Carmelo Anthony should include a realistic target. LeBron James and Paul George are out. Bring me your reasonable suggestions.
- The Knicks shot 10-21 from behind the arc. The Pelicans shot 7-21 and had more than a few rim out tonight. Sometimes the ball goes in the hoop...sometimes it doesn't.
The Pelicans will head to Charlotte to face the surging Bobcats on Friday night. Since it is on the East Coast, it will be a 6 pm local start time. The trade deadline is tomorrow at 2 pm local.