The injury bug has ceased to be a mere bug for the Pelicans. At this point, it's more like those scarab beetles you saw in The Mummy, devouring everything in its sight. Brian Roberts left the game with an unspecified left ankle injury, and only moments later, Tyreke Evans had to leave after laying on the floor in pain, clutching his right knee. In real time and on the replay, it didn't look like anything went terribly wrong, so there's hope that this won't be a serious injury. In addition, the AP referred to it as a "bone bruise", which thankfully doesn't sound too bad. However, Monty must surely be tempted to just keep Evans out the rest of the season at this point.
As for the game, it was a joke. Before the Roberts and Evans injuries, the Pelicans were keeping it relatively respectable - usually a ten to fifteen point deficit. After the injuries, the only remaining guards were Austin Rivers and Anthony Morrow, and disaster ensued. The lead quickly ballooned to thirty and Scott Brooks could safely pull his starters, leaving a matchup of benches - New Orleans played their bench by default and the Thunder played their bench by choice. Frankly, the Thunder bench even outperformed the New Orleans bench, but without any guards, it's hard to complain about the result.
To the bullets:
- Anthony Morrow had an awful shooting night - he hit his lone three point attempt but missed all 8 of his attempts inside the arc. It has been a while since he's had a bad game - he's been playing like a man on fire (or at least a man that knows he's in line for a big payday this offseason).
- Darius Miller continues to impress in his new starting role, making 18 points on only 13 shots. He even drew Durant as his defensive assignment at times. Of course, he was at best a mild impediment to Durant getting to the bucket, but you can chalk this up as him being on a learning curve.
- Our lone starter from the beginning of the season that wasn't wearing a suit played only fifteen minutes today - Aminu barely got off the bench. I really don't know what's the deal between him and Monty.
- Jeff Withey played a ton with of minutes, many with Greg Stiemsma. I can't think of another player whose skill set is less compatible with Stiemsma's, so his awful stat line (8 points on 4-12 shooting) makes some kind of sense. However, getting four of his shots blocked is pretty terrible.
- Speaking of Steamer, he was joined at the hip with Tyreke, as David noted. Until he went out with his injury, Evans had played only 11 seconds with Steamer not on the court. Tyreke wasn't playing terribly, though - he had 13 points on 11 shots and had six assists to lead the team.
- James Southerland came in for garbage time and looked pretty good against the end of OKC's bench. I was pretty depressed by this point, though - I think I was just looking for bright spots.