Before tip-off Alvin Gentry said Norris Cole, not Jrue Holiday, would replace Eric Gordon in the starting lineup. Cole has been an abject disaster so far this season after returning from a high ankle sprain for the New Orleans Pelicans; his 7.5 PER is the worst mark among current rotation players. How would the Pelicans respond to losing their highest paid player?
Exceptionally well. This team was completely unrecognizable in the first half. The ball was moving around, shots were falling, and Norris Cole was having himself a game. In the first quarter alone Cole had 8 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. The Pistons never held a lead and New Orleans quickly pushed the margin to double figures. Every Pelican who checked in the game scored in the first half. Highlights were available and Alonzo Gee took full advantage on this impressive baseline drive.
Starting out the second half slow after building a 19 point lead was a reasonable concern for a Pelicans team that has struggled with consistency. Of course that meant Omer Asik would score six consecutive points out of the locker rooms to get into double figures on the game.
No, I'm serious. Omer Asik poured in six points and six rebounds in EIGHT MINUTES to start the the second half. That is an actual thing that happened tonight. As the leader and only remaining occupant of the Asik Bandwagon I was just surprised as you.
A 9-2 Pistons run at the end of the third quarter cut a 20 point lead to 13. Detroit played last night against the Houston Rockets while the Pelicans were rested. Would that advantage bode well for New Orleans in the final frame? Anthony Davis kept New Orleans afloat with eight consecutive points but Alonzo Gee electrified the Smoothie King Center with this RIDICULOUS putback dunk.
Alonzo making a case for that dunk contest! https://t.co/KmuLfPrFbq— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 22, 2016
Anthony Davis led the way tonight with 32 points and 7 rebounds. Tyreke Evans was superb with 22 points and 10 assists of his own. New Orleans has Friday night off before hosting the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night.