No one gave them much of a chance. Not months ago, weeks ago or even hours ago. However, the Pelicans defied all odds as they beat one of the best teams in the NBA to get into the playoffs for the first time since 2010-11.
As for the game, the Pelicans first couple of minutes were iffy, after that it was golden! Jrue Holiday's tough jumper at the buzzer put the exclamation point on the first quarter. New Orleans finished on a 14-1 run to take a 15 point lead after just 12 minutes. In the second quarter, they didn't let up. The bench, led by Norris Cole, did their thing.
In all, the Pels outscored the Spurs 38-26 in the 1st half, the bench had an overwhelming 27-13 edge in points and the team had a salivating 15:4 assist to turnover ratio. What did the 2nd half have in store?
Lots of heart palpitations.
The Spurs cut the lead to just 10 points after 5 minutes of action. Although the Pelicans pushed the difference back up more than several times, San Antonio never relented. In fact, in the fourth quarter, they cut it to 4 points and went to the Hack-Asik strategy. Although he seemingly made 1 of 2 every time (but once?), the Spurs didn't really take advantage of it.
For the rest of the game, the Pelicans never put them away until the waning seconds of the game, and I mean the sub-10 range. After a poor turnover, the Spurs had cut it to three with 11 seconds remaining! Fortunately, after a few Holiday free throws, the game was finally put on ice.
Stay tuned for David's full recap coming up a bit later. For now, let's enjoy this incredible accomplishment with your votes and in the comments.
Geaux Pelicans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (See you in the playoffs)