The Pelicans announced Dante Cunningham would miss the game due to illness so Alonzo Gee replaced him in the lineup. Thus, Alvin Gentry started his 20th different combination of the season: Tyreke Evans, Norris Cole, Gee, Anthony Davis and Omer Asik.
Not surprisingly, an offensively limited group on paper started the game off with a turnover. Things would not get any better: a 1-7 start was followed by Norris Cole picking up 2 fouls within the first 3 minutes. However, Toney Douglas' entrance into the game was the spark the starters needed after a quick 8-2 deficit. Following the hideous shooting start, the Pelicans proceeded to go 7 for 16 from the field, good for a 44 FG% and they trailed the Bucks just 23-22 after the first quarter.
The second started with a bang, a quick five points by New Orleans within the first minute; however, the Pelicans failed to keep the momentum, and the Bucks seized a 39-34 lead midway through the frame. A 3:30-minute scoring drought and 7 straight misses were largely responsible for the drought, but before the usual doom and gloom set in, a couple of steals late in the quarter ignited the Pelicans including this gem by Jrue Holiday.
Swipe. Slam. https://t.co/i3RN4bo1vN— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 24, 2016
A dunk by Anderson in the final second before halftime gave New Orleans a 52-51 lead. He led the Pelicans with 12 points in the first half, but Alonzo Gee's energy needs mention. Check out this finish en route to his 8 point and 5 rebound effort in the first 24 minutes of the game.
In the second half, Asik got on the scoreboard twice after not one but two nice feeds from Davis. Then, in more unexpected offense, Norris Cole dropped two straight three-pointers to give the Pelicans a quick 62-55 advantage. The Bucks came right back, though, scoring 11 unanswered, led by a 14-point quarter outburst by Khris Middleton.
The Pelicans had the last laugh, though, and responded with an 15-3 run to end the third quarter, posting their first double-digit lead of the game, 84-74.
The fireworks continued into the final frame, including a vicious put-back dunk by Davis and a slew of three-pointers by his mates. By the time New Orleans 10-0 run ended, they had a 16-point lead, effectively blowing the doors open of the game.
The Pelicans finished with 17 makes on 31 attempts from long range (a new franchise record for made threes), had 26 points off 18 turnovers (versus just 8 points on 8 Pelican turnovers for the Bucks) and finished with a season-high 33 assists.
Ryan Anderson led the way with 23 points, 6 threes, 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Anthony Davis finished with nice all-around line of 22 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 blocks and 1 three/steal. Jrue Holiday posted a mouth-watering +32 in 25 minutes on the strength of 13 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals.
Stay tuned for David's full recap a bit later.