The Pelicans were doomed by the inability to guard the pick and roll with Parker and Duncan down the stretch. Parker was able to blow by Brian Roberts at will and gave Austin Rivers fits, too. He had it going tonight - the teardrop, the layup, the pull-up, and the midrange jumper off the curl. Compounding the late defensive woes was a weak offensive fourth quarter - with a minute left to go, the Pelicans were only 6-17 from the floor. Anthony Davis had problems getting to the rim with Boris Diaw draped all over him, the ball was stagnant, and Eric Gordon just kind of disappeared after a really solid first quarter.
The heroes of the night were certainly Anthony Morrow and Austin Rivers, who came off the bench in the same shift and worked together on offense to keep the Pelicans into it - Morrow was +8 on the night and Rivers was +10. Rivers played some excellent defense on Tony Parker at times and was extremely aggressive getting to the rim. One play that really stuck out was when Rivers lost the ball in a mixup around the top of the arc and had to run into the backcourt to retrieve it. With limited time on the clock, Rivers drove the length of the court and made a tough layup in traffic to salvage the possession. At another time, he was running the court, found his lane to the rim blocked, saw Morrow coming in late, hesitated, and got the ball to Morrow in rhythm for a three-pointer. Morrow just had it all working tonight - he got to the rim, buried his two threes, and made a ton of tough mid-range jumpers. He finished the night with 20 points on only nine shot attempts.
- Davis had a really rough night - he had to play almost 44 minutes and looked out of sorts. Looking at the stat sheet, though, it was pretty decent for an off night - he managed 15 points on 21 shots (eek), but tallied 16 rebounds and 4 blocks, enough to extend his streak of 4-block nights to 7 in a row. The big problem were his turnovers - he had 5, starting with a bizarre pass straight to the courtside seats early in the first quarter.
- In the Adam Silver Bowl, Davis had the better first half, but Duncan had the better second half. Timmy really had his way in the third, where he was blocking shots (he finished with 6) and making layups, hooks, and jumpers on the offensive end (finishing with 21 points on 10 attempts). I'd say if you're using that game as the tie-breaker, Duncan has to be your All-Star. NOTE: you should not use that game as a tie-breaker because there wasn't a tie to begin with.
- The turnovers really doomed the Pelicans tonight - we gave away possession 15 times while the Spurs only committed 8 turnovers - that's the difference in the game.
- Ajinca and Stiemsma were always in the game when the other was on the bench, and there's no doubt Ajinca was the better option. His stats were better, he played much better defense, and he is at least an option on the offensive end (plus, he ended with 10 boards, 3 of them offensive). Stiemsma's defense on Parker pick and rolls was particularly egregious - I'd say he was escorting Parker to the rim, but I don't think he was even close enough to qualify as an escort.
- Evans got injured - something happened to his ribs early in the second quarter and he never returned. It happened on a San Antonio fast break and it didn't seem like any camera caught what happened. It's a shame that circumstances appear to be conspiring against him again - it's tough to get in a rhythm like this.
- Eric Gordon had a really solid night - he seemed to disappear at times in the second half, but he played some really aggressive ball-hawking defense and was extremely efficient on the offensive end.