After not playing in more than a week, Luke Babbitt made an appearance for only the fourth time this month. But it made all the difference in the world. When he entered in the waning moments of the third quarter, the Pelicans were down 5 and lacking momentum, as the Hawks had just finished a 14-2 run. Promptly, Bab's assisted on a Rivers lay-in and then drilled a three-point bomb with 1.2 seconds remaining in the frame.
From that moment on, the Pelicans seized control of the game in the final quarter, leading by as much as 10 points. The Hawks attempted to make it interesting with Jeff Teague scoring 11 points in the final three minutes, however, it wasn't enough and the Pelicans won for the sixth time in their last nine games.
- Anthony Davis stretched his franchise best scoring streak of 28+ points a game to seven. In all, he had 34 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block/steal. He continues to ensure that the Pelicans will be on national television more than a team 12 games under .500 should next season.
- Tyreke Evans came up large again: 21 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. His 6 turnovers were troubling but he came up some timely steals in the game, none bigger than his final one which came after a poor fadeaway. Did you know the Pelicans are 9-4 when Reke breaks the 20 point barrier? I still fall asleep often wondering what took Monty so long to feature Evans more, especially after Anderson went down.
- Eric Gordon tallied 7:41 minutes of court time due to a troublesome left knee. Reportedly, it wasn't an injury caused by a specific play, but rather, he was feeling discomfort throughout. He attempted to give it a go after halftime but wasn't able to stretch it out properly. Hey, at least it's his good knee, right?
- Brian Roberts couldn't hit from beyond the arc (0-4) and was burned defensively multiple times again, but he did convert on all of his 8 free throw attempts. Coming into the game, he has been shooting 25% from three in March so it's natural to assume whether the big minutes he's played since Holiday went down are taking their toll.
- Luke Babbitt only played a little over 12 minutes but he had the best individual +/- on the night. On a team that's so dependent on someone...anyone...hitting the deep ball consistently since the Anderson injury, it's puzzling why his playing time has been sparse. This is especially true with Stiemsma, Ajinca and Withey being quite ineffective the majority of the time. Hopefully tonight's performance forces Monty to get him back into the regular rotation.
- Austin Rivers was perfect from the floor (3-3) and poured in 10 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 nice steal and 1 fabulous block. As with Evans, the turnovers hurt, but it was his foul trouble that posed more worrisome. Both Roberts and he had major issues attempting to stay with Teague and the speedy Dennis Schroder.
- Alexis Ajinca was the best of the 3-headed center rotation but he still can't stay out of his own way -- 4 fouls in just over 13 minutes of action.
- Darius Miller celebrated his birthday today with a 3 and almost had another, had it not been for a foul call away from the ball.
- The Pelicans made 35 of 43 free throws!!!
The Pelicans fly home tonight to face the Miami Heat at home tomorrow. Hopefully, Gordon is able to work out the kink in his knee by then. Geaux Pels!