Anthony Davis was struggling with his shot for most of the first three quarters. During the fourth he got to the line quite a bit and it helped him get back on track. The New Orleans Pelicans needed it as an AD 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down was huge in the final minute of the game. Davis was a monster on both ends during the fourth and finished the night with 32 points, 19 rebounds, and 4 blocks. None of those blocks were bigger than his block of Mirza Teletovic with 22 seconds to go from the corner. A make would have cut the NOLA lead down to just one point but Davis stunted at P.J. Tucker to force a pass and blocked a shot only he can block.
Davis did not work alone tonight. Ryan Anderson poured in 29 points on 8-14 shooting including going 4-7 behind the arc. The threat of Anderson in transition created a number of easy baskets for the Pelicans as the game wore on. At one point the Suns gave up an easy dunk for Davis in an attempt to keep the ball out of Ryno's hands trailing behind the 3-point line. That kind of gravity is invaluable.
Ish Smith is starting to grow on the Pelican fan base. He was instrumental in keeping the pace up for New Orleans and finished with 17 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists off the bench in 30 minutes. Jrue Holiday continues to struggle when tasked to be the sole ball handler but has excelled in two point guard lineups. I expect that Holiday, Evans, Smith, and Cole will all find minutes once Evans and Cole return from injury.
While the Suns did score 116 tonight the Pelican defense was not terrible. Phoenix scored just 22 points in the paint compared to 44 for New Orleans. Even challenged threes found the bottom of the net; Eric Bledsoe canned a corner three while attempting a rip-through move against Eric Gordon for a four point play.
Rumors of the Pelicans' demise have been greatly exaggerated.— Amin Elhassan (@AminESPN) November 23, 2015
In both the game preview and the game thread I said Anthony Davis needed to lead this team. While the points were valuable his 19 rebounds made it possible for Alvin Gentry to stay small throughout the game. Playing small while not giving up tons of offensive rebounds is critical to pairing Davis and Anderson together. Tonight it worked against a very physical Phoenix Suns team.
New Orleans has the next two days off before facing the Suns again in Phoenix on Wednesday. The Suns will fly out tonight to face the San Antonio Spurs tomorrow.