Riding high after a 3-game winning streak, everything came crashing down for the Pelicans in the Staples Center tonight, aptly known as Black Friday. The high energy seen recently went dormant, akin to what fans witnessed throughout the first few weeks of the season.
Outside of moments by several players like Ish Smith and Ryan Anderson, the play of New Orleans during the first half was largely lethargic. They never found their groove which was a pity because the Clippers didn't play nearly well enough to hold a 21-point halftime advantage.
We're not going to delve into further analysis because nothing else can be gained through an examination of a game where the Pelicans failed to give anywhere near the appropriate effort.
Rather, it's more importantly to put the focus on what nearly happened. The unthinkable, and for some, close to apocalyptic. The 2015-16 season for Anthony Davis almost ended abruptly and in one of the most heinous manners possible.
With 2:37 remaining in the third quarter and the Clippers comfortably ahead, Chris Paul pulled one of his patented moves as he dribbled up the basketball court.
This video demonstrates Davis was headed back in a linear direction up the floor to get back on defense. Meanwhile, Paul cuts diagonally across the floor and into the intended path of Davis. Yet, AD was whistled for the offensive foul because Paul's body reacted in a negative fashion first.
Mission accomplished for the oft-used dirty trick, but here's the aftermath.
As it was mentioned in the quick recap, Davis should thank his lucky stars he didn't suffer anything worse than a knee contusion. Earlier in the game, he was seen massaging his right knee so apparently it was already bothering him. Weakened or injured body parts are more susceptible to further injury so it's fantastic news Davis didn't suffer any ligament damage.
However, this play raises the issue of why hasn't the league cracked down on this form of unsportsmanlike conduct. Back in 2012-13, the NBA started fining players for flopping, acts that were intentionally meant to deceive officials in order to gain a favorable call.
The play above should not be viewed any differently, right?
Worse, though, the once-typical Manu Ginobili or Tony Parker flop never intentionally put another player in harm's way. Paul's actions do, and on a regular basis I might add, as he seeks out contact on the often unsuspecting opponents. Tonight, it almost cost the NBA nearly four-fifths of a regular season of one of it's brightest stars.
Chris Paul’s "gamesmanship" just cost the Pelicans Anthony Davis. All fun and games until the foul jockeying starts costing superstars.— Rob Mahoney (@RobMahoney) November 28, 2015
Amend the rules Mr. Silver and put a stop to this. It's shocking to me that a player who possesses a questionable on-the-court history does not sit under a larger magnifying glass. Need I remind you with a few of CP3's greatest hits?