Shortly before the start of the game, the Pelicans announced Jrue Holiday had a stress reaction.
Pelicans announce @Jrue_Holiday11 will be out 2-4 weeks with what they are now calling a stress reaction to his lower right leg.— nakia hogan (@nakiahogan) January 21, 2015
Unsurpisingly, the game started slowly for both teams. In a little over the first 6 minutes, the Lakers were shooting 25%, the Pelicans 30%. Anthony Davis had a turnover, missed a chance for an And-1 he normally gets and blew a dunk. He finally converted his first field goal on his fourth attempt.
Shortly after the game's first timeout, Nate Wolters entered and promptly scored on a lay-in. Then, Kobe Bryant was called for an offensive foul on the block for a push-off (first time I've ever seen that call against him.) By the time the quarter ended, the Pelicans had a 22-20 lead, but it felt like the players were moving in quicksand for much of it.
The second quarter witnessed a couple of consecutive turnovers by Wolters that resulted in a momentary 3-point Laker lead. Although Tyreke Evans picked up a 2nd foul at the 10:05 mark, Monty left him in the game. However, that still didn't help matters much as the Lakers went on an 8-0 run to take a 9 point lead. As you can imagine, the #FireMonty chants started to grow rather loud.
Fortunately, before everyone else jumped onto the bandwagon, the Pelicans made a nice run to close it to a single point at intermission. Wolters, Evans and Eric Gordon combined for 26 of the Pels 43 points. After a slow start, Anthony Davis had 9 points and 4 rebounds.
Both teams shot right around the 40% mark, but as to where New Orleans created extra opportunities with their 7 offensive rebounds, the Lakers went to the free throw line 15 times (opposed to our 9). The Pelicans had a mild edge in total rebounds and points in the paint.
The 2nd half started with Eric Gordon hitting a jumper from the elbow, yet the Pels missed their next 4 attempts. Things picked up, though, thanks in part to Anthony Davis making three consecutive field goals. Problem was that the Lakers stayed right alongside the Pels as they continued to score well off our turnovers.
At the 2:01 mark, Davis, Evans and Gordon were responsible for 51 of the Pels 66 points. However, by the time the third quarter ended, the final score stood at 69-68, thanks to a Wolters steal in the open court against Jeremy Lin, which resulted in Quincy Pondecter lay-in.
The fourth quarter started with more points from Q-Pon, a couple of free throws. He then had a nice pass to Davis that led to another converted And-1, and then later dumped it off to him for a jumper. In less than 3 minutes the Pelicans had an 8 point lead and the Lakers were still searching for their first points of the final frame.
Although the Pelicans missed a few at the rim, they maintained their attacking style of play and led 87-75 at the 5 minute mark. They were able to coast to rest of the way as the Lakers never made a run.
With the win, the Pelicans have beaten the Lakers now four straight times.
- Anthony Davis started slowly but finished with a bang: 29 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals and 4 blocks. In his post-game comments, he told Jennifer Hale he stubbed his toe early on a lob attempt, but claimed he'll be fine moving forward.
- Eric Gordon had his first double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 assists. He also added a 5 rebounds and 1 steal/three. In 4 of his last 5 games, he's had at least 5 assists. Now that Holiday will be out for some time, that type of production is exactly what the Pelicans need. Keep it up, Eric!
- Tyreke Evans kept the team afloat early as he made 5 of his first 6 shot attempts. He finished with 19 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. He did turn it over 4 times, but that's just something we should expect almost every night with Holiday sidelined.
- Quincy Pondexter played well, especially in the 2nd half. His line didn't sparkle (12 points, 2 assists), but his energy and a stretch in the 4th quarter where he played well in tandem with Davis was great to see. Although he missed a big time slam dunk and a jumper after a nice spin move against Kobe Bryant, it was exactly what I've been waiting for from our SF position -- controlled aggression. His signing could prove to be very big for the rest of the season. A guy to keep on your watch list for sure.
- Ryan Anderson didn't make his first basket until the 7:25 mark of the 4th quarter. He finished the game 2 of 7, but let's PRAY the finish of this game carries over. Whether his fused spine is to blame or not, this has easily been the worst slump of his career. The team desperately needs for him to snap out of the funk.
- Omer Asik had a solid game with 6 points and 10 rebounds. My favorite moment, though, came when he was stuck guarding Nick Young on the wing. Young threw a fake, yet he was unable to draw the foul. Most NBA wings would have picked up the foul, but Asik did not. That's incredible and he doesn't get applauded enough for his heady defensive contributions.
- Nate Wolters entered the game around the 4 minute mark of the first quarter. He scored on a couple of a nice runners and a midrange jumper, but it was his defense that stood out more. He had several timely steals, and in general, he shows a lot of potential on that end of the floor. With this appearance, there is a decent chance he's moved ahead of Jimmer Fredette in the rotation, but don't think it's a shut case. Especially considering Wolters is signed to a 10-day contract.
- At halftime, the Pelicans had a 4 point advantage in the paint. At the end of the game, it had ballooned to 22 points.
- Air Pierre made his debut.
Air Pierre has moves! https://t.co/CI4Vl74UK8— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 22, 2015
Up next, the Pelicans travel to Minnesota to face the Wolves on Friday. As I'm sure you're aware, they'll be looking to break their alternating W-L-W-L-W-L streak. It has to happen some time, right?