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Jrue Holiday turns up the defense, leading the Pelicans to a victory over the Rockets

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Nice to see this team win with defense after a horrendous first quarter.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Jrue Holiday proved tonight why he is considered an elite defender. Assigned to defend James Harden during crunch time Holiday consistently beat Harden to the spot, avoided picking up cheap fouls, and forced three turnovers in the last couple minutes. The Rockets scored just five points in the final eight minutes.

Anthony Davis played 50 minutes yesterday in his Christmas debut. You could forgive him if he came out a little flat on the second night of a back-to-back. He did not.

Omer Asik had his best game of the season, nearly chipping in a double-double with 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks in just 22 minutes. That's the kind of production Dell Demps envisioned this summer when he re-signed the big man to a 5 year, $44 million contract. Asik has quietly turned the corner in December after a horrendous start to the season. The key, apparently, is to go against former employers.

Eric Gordon was absolutely on fire in the first quarter and did not miss during the first half. Sadly, despite the Pelicans shooting a ridiculous 75% in the first 12 minutes they trailed 41-33. Turnovers were the culprit as the Rockets pressed New Orleans into careless passes. Tyreke Evans and Anthony Davis had a couple each but were hardly alone. The highlight for the Pelicans was this dunk by Anthony Davis, who will be arraigned for manslaughter in the morning. RIP Terrence Jones.

The defense got on track, if you can call it that, in the second quarter. The Pelicans outscored Houston 30-21 in the quarter finishing on an impressive 12-1 run in the final three minutes. Still, the run in the fourth quarter, 16-5 in the last seven and a half minutes was enormous. We got some Finishing Five, Omer Asik made his free throws, and Jrue Holiday was superb.

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