Pelicans Nudge Nuggets in Overtime, 111-108

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MY FACE IS EXPLODING - The Flattest Eric

Anthony Morrow is a really competitive man. His personality, desire, effort, and overall swag oozed out of him in the fourth quarter. 9 of his 14 points came in the fourth quarter and the overtime period. None more critical to the result than his pull up jump shot at the foul line with 0.9 seconds remaining. As stated above, it is so much more than just the shots he takes, or even the space his mere presence on the court creates for others. The Rivers-Morrow-Withey trio came off the bench with more fire, energy, and just more want-to than the Nuggets tonight. It effected the flow of the game and the energy of the crowd. Effort is appreciated, and the people inside the Smoothie King Center let them hear it tonight.

Rewind

After a back and forth fourth quarter, the Pelicans were down two points with 40.9 seconds remaining. Coming out of a Denver timeout, Monty Williams elected to sub out Tyreke Evans and Brian Roberts for Al-Farouq Aminu and Austin Rivers. Progress! On the ensuing possession, the Nuggets isolated Rivers on Aaron Brooks. Rivers forced Brooks to his left hand, got a piece of the attempt, and in the following scrum a jump ball was called between Brooks and Anthony Davis. Thankfully Davis controlled the tip to Eric Gordon.

Out of the timeout, the Pelicans attempted to isolate Anthony Davis on the inbounds at the left elbow. The pass and catch were a bit sloppy, and Morrow curled around toward the  top of the key to maintain possession. After dribbling down the little remaining clock, he got his way to the center of the foul line and drained the attempt with just 0.9 seconds to go. Overtime!

Again, both teams went back and forth to begin overtime. After Brooks missed a layup with the score tied at 104, a loose ball foul on Faried put AD on the line. He confidently drained both attempts and the Pelicans would not trail again. But the highlight reel was just beginning to roll. Ty Lawson drove down the right side and looked certain to tie the game at 106, but Davis (who played center throughout the period) was able to come across the lane, pin the shot on the backboard and control the rebound (hello Bill Russell blocks).

Tyreke Evans got a lucky roll (finally?) on a layup, stole the ball after a long a unfruitful Nugget possession, then knocked down two free throws to seal the victory. In just the overtime period, Evans compiled 7 points (on 2 FGAs), an assist (for a three no less) and a steal. Evans stretches his 20 points scored streak to five games.

Happy Birthday

Anthony Davis turns 21 on Tuesday. Tonight he decided to stuff the box score as a present to Pelican fans: 32 points, 17 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 6 blocked shots. NBA on ESPN can put the gravity of this stat line in perspective.

He is getting better and he can finally get a drink (legally) on Bourbon Street. The future is bright.

Notes

- Monty Williams still has lost the location of Luke Babbitt (hint, on the bench); but some of his moves tonight were revolutionary for him. The entire overtime featured Anthony Davis at center with four wings around him most of the time. As mentioned above, he made a solid defensive substitution to end the fourth quarter. Of course that makes everyone wonder what could have been if a similar move was made in the Washington game.

- Greg Stiemsma only scored one point, but he was excellent (by his standards) tonight. Some of his passing from the high post was really surprising, although he was only credited with one assist it felt like more.

- The two teams combined for 51 turnovers tonight. Aminu nearly had a critical one with 35 seconds to go in overtime but was bailed out by Evans jumping the passing lane seconds later.

- Eric Gordon scored all 10 of his points after the half. His isolation defense was good in the waning moments, but more is expected due to his contract. I was glad to see him keep his head down and keep working despite his shot not falling in the first half, that takes mental toughness.

- Tyreke Evans recorded what felt like his first dunk, directly over Timofey Mozgov. Weird how that keeps happening to him.

The Pelicans will have two days practicing/celebrating AD's 21st birthday. On Wednesday they face Memphis for the fourth and final time of the season. The Pelicans have won the previous three meetings.

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