[Editor's Note - Look at that picture again. There are no words to properly describe that. Just look at it.]
The Pelicans came out of the gates on fire tonight, scoring 24 points on the first 12 possessions. Jrue Holiday led the charge scoring 10 points in the first eight minutes to go along with three assists. Minnesota struggled to protect the paint and New Orleans could not miss. The only missed three pointer in the entire first half was a WIDE OPEN Ryan Anderson attempt in rhythm. Luke Babbitt got into the act hitting two threes in the first quarter.
Austin Rivers ensured the Pelicans ended the first quarter strong and got out to a quick start in the second. In the span of 2:43 Rivers scored or assisted on 11 consecutive points over the course of just six possessions. Rivers was aggressive attacking the paint and finished a variety of layups off the glass. For the half Rivers finished with 11 points on just five shots.
New Orleans could be excused for taking it easy in the third quarter which began with a 36 point lead. The officials, aware of the margin, changed out their stripes for Timberwolf uniforms during halftime. It didn't matter. The Pelicans extended their lead. Despite being called for 11 personal fouls leading to 16 Minnesota foul shots the Pels won the quarter 38-28, stretching the lead to 118-72. New Orleans went 4-8 from deep with contributions from Ryan Anderson, Jrue Holiday, and Tyreke Evans.
The Pelicans, despite the enormous lead, went out and won the fourth quarter 21-19. Reserves playing all twelve minutes. Austin Rivers led the way for the bench scoring 17 points on just 9 shots while tossing in 3 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block as lagniappe.
There really is not a whole lot to say about tonight. New Orleans got open looks seemingly every trip down the court and buried them with confidence. Shooting 66.7% against any team in the NBA, even Philadelphia, is a matter of good fortune. The Pels had that in spades tonight.
NOLA outscored Minnesota 56-36 in the paint and 45-9 behind the arc. While forcing 24 turnovers the Pelicans committed just 13. Nothing the Timberwolves attempted made a difference until Monty eased off the accelerator in the fourth quarter. Only the concerted efforts of the officials kept this game from getting
out of hand into the NBA's record books. The Pelicans franchise record books will have to do tonight.
We are trying out a new way to rate player performance. These votes are in terms of each player's performance TONIGHT ONLY. Yes, that means just about everyone will receive positive marks. This game was unique.
-The Pelicans set franchise records for points in a game (139), made threes (15), and margin of victory (48).
-Jrue Holiday was tremendous. His performance was Tony Parker-esque as Holiday shot 6-7 on a variety of pull ups and floaters in the mid range. 24 points (on 10 shots), 9 assists, and just 1 turnover.
-Anthony Davis turned in a nonchalant 22 points (on 13 shots), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, and 2 steals. Thankfully Holiday (twice) and Evans set up AD for alley-oop dunks to entertain the masses. Here is the above picture in motion.
-Tyreke Evans had 16 points (on 11 shots including making his only three point attempt), 7 assists, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals. Evans went 5-8 on shots in the restricted area tonight, a welcome improved aided by two fastbreak dunks.
-Eric Gordon put in his best game of the season scoring 11 points on just four shots. He even converted the Pelicans first four point play of the season.
-Luke Babbitt may have separated himself from the small forward pack tonight making all four of his three point attempts. On the season Babbitt is now 5/8 behind the arc.