The first six minutes or so of the game were rough, and that is being overly kind. The teams started 6-18 with five turnovers. The Pelicans' lone highlight to that point was Anthony Davis and his two blocks on Tobias Harris jump shots. Thankfully for fans in the arena and, watching at home, actual basketball commenced just before the first media timeout as the teams scored 11 points in just over a minute.
Eric Gordon in the middle of the first quarter scored or assisted on 15 consecutive points. Tyreke Evans did not make a field goal in the first quarter; yet his only miss was a Kobe Assist (led to a Davis put back) plus he scored four points at the line and added two steals (lead to 4 points) and two assists (lead to 5 points). Efficiency despite a poor FG%.
Beginning the second quarter, Evans continued his onslaught, accounting for four more points and two more assists (five points) while the Pelicans stretched the lead to 15. New Orleans controlled throughout the second quarter - until the last two minutes. As has been the case to go into the half (or come out of it), the Pelicans allowed a big run as the Magic cut the lead from 16 to 8 before an Evans basket with three seconds left stretched the lead back to double digits.
The lead would ebb and flow from a maximum of twelve to a minimum of four during the third quarter. Both teams would go on a run for a couple of possessions, only to be answered by the opposition. Again after stretching the lead to double digits (13 this time), the Pelicans allowed a Magic run in the final two minutes of the third quarter, trimming the New Orleans lead down to six. Notably during the third quarter, Ajinca again got into quick foul trouble and was replaced by Jeff Withey (who also logged extended minutes in the first half).
Tyreke Evans took the game over in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, scoring ten of his twenty-three points on five possessions while taking advantage of the porous Orlando interior defense. Arron Afflalo answered back with six straight points as the Pelicans were called for three defensive fouls, a defensive three-seconds, and an offensive foul on an illegal screen in the span of only 1:19. Coming out of the under six media timeout, the score was 85-81 Pelicans.
Thanks to the plethora of fouls called in the first six minutes, the Pelicans took advantage, getting to the line for four more attempts between the media timeout and the Magic's next stoppage. A potential fast break for Brian Roberts was halted by a foul in the open court by Jameer Nelson. After trading baskets, a Tyreke Evans miss ended with a foul on Afflalo as he attempted to keep Aminu off the glass (that call was a little questionable, I initially expected it to be on Aminu over the back) leading to two more free throws. As we know, the ball does not lie and Amiinu went 1-2. Thankfully two steals by Gordon and Davis ended the next two Magic possessions and an Evans assist to Aminu pushed the lead to 92-86 as Orlando was forced to call a timeout to regroup.
The Magic scored on their next two possessions but the Pelicans answered each time. With the lead still at six points, Tyreke Evans (!) blocked Tobias Harris at the basket and collected the ball for New Orleans. Coming down the floor, Brian Roberts milked the clock away and Anthony Davis came up to set a ball screen. With Roberts attacking down the left side of the lane, he slipped the ball between two defenders to AD. Then it happened:
Anthony Davis just got the Grammy for Best Dunk Murder of Big Baby Davis.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) January 27, 2014
The Pelicans went on to win 100-92. Glen "Big Baby" Davis is expected to be out four to six weeks thanks to the above homicide.
- Anthony Davis put up a huge stat line in his last game before All-Star ballots are due from coaches: 22 Points, 19 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 7 Blocks, 2 Steals and 1 Murdered Former-LSU Player. He was aggressive tonight and even occassionally took rebounds from teammates, uncommon for him. Tobias Harris had the worst of it, with 5 of his shots rejected in the game.
- The star tonight was Tyreke Evans: 23 Points, 7 Rebounds, 7 Assists, 2 Steals, 1 Block and just 1 Turnover. Insanely efficient tonight!!!
- Greg Stiemsma logged a DNP-CD.
- As Oleh mentioned in the preview, the Pelicans dominated the glass tonight, winning the battle 48-32. The short lineup available for the Magic allowed Anthony Davis to log a number of minutes at center beside Aminu at power forward.
The Pelicans, after a rough eight game losing streak following the injury to Ryan Anderson, have won three of their last four. Their next game is Tuesday at 6pm central (Early Start Warning!) in Cleveland. The Cavs have lost three of their last four at home but are only two games outside of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference. If New Orleans was in the Eastern Conference, they would currently be slotted for a playoff berth.