The Pelicans won! Again!!! #WinningStreak
The New Orleans Pelicans beat the Charlotte Hornets at home, 121-116, in overtime Saturday night, coming back from a 14-point deficit. The Pelicans have now won 4 out of 6 games, and both games that Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis have played together.
Anthony Davis did Anthony Davis stuff, finishing with 38 points, 16 rebounds and 3 blocks. KAT and “The Process” who? Langston Galloway had 23 points (1 off his career-high but a career-best 6 made three-pointers) and Jrue Holiday had 22 points, 9 assists. Tim Frazier chipped in 17 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists.
Key three-pointers by Davis and Galloway with just over three minutes left pulled New Orleans back to within 3 at 100-103. At the time, Nola had made 8(!) out of 9(!) 3s. Exclamation points!
A Kemba Walker semi-runner, awkwardly-timed layup thing (not sure what to call it other than effective) put Charlotte up 3 with just over a minute left, again leaving the Pelicans in a tough spot, but somehow the Breauxs from Bourbon brought it back.
On the next possession AD was fouled on a 3-point attempt but missed 2 of 3 free throw attempts. Again, dear Pelicans fans must have thought it was over; but after a stop by the stout New Orleans defense, Jrue made a drive to the hoop which resulted in a Kobe (or Tyreke) assist off a missed shot at the rim that led to an easy Davis putback. Tie game with 18 seconds left.
After yet another stop - somehow Kemba missed an open mid-range stepback he’s known for hitting - the game went to overtime, where the Jrue story began:
In overtime, Jrue wasn’t really that effective, and yet, was maybe the key to the win. You may have forgotten his bad plays: he had a shot blocked, then took a terribly long 3-pointer, then had a missed shot and committed a charge. But with the bad came the good: in between some of those possessions, he made a tremendous defensive play which led to a steal, scored from an awkward spot in the mid-paint, and made a nice curl and run at the hoop which led to a Pelicans basket. A Jrue assist to AD with 1:15 left gave the Pelicans a 4-point lead which they did not relinquish.
My point here is it was hard to tell if Jrue helped the Pelicans win or if they could have won more easily without him in OT. Of course, I’m only partially serious. Jrue may have taketh and giveth away, at least in the final minutes tonight, but there is no doubt they don’t have a chance to win the game without him. Don’t be surprised to learn if his legs were a little heavy down the stretch, plus having not played in competitive games in such a long time, butterflies affected his judgement just enough.
Finishing Five Redux?
Key 4th quarter and overtime minutes were played by the following lineup: Jrue, Frazier, Galloway, Cunningham and Davis. This is certainly not a guaranteed or pre-planned “Finishing 5,” but it does show the bones of what a good Pelicans team could offer: playmaking and shooting, plus-defense on the wings, and Davis vacuuming rebounds at the 5. Even substituting Moore for Galloway in future games, or Hill or Jones for Cunningham, seems doable, but going beyond those two seems untenable. Good to see the Pels go small when playmaking and shooting is in short supply on this roster. Of note: the Pelicans outrebounded Charlotte 24-11 in the fourth and OT, therefore no need for Omer Asik in all matchups.
Langston Got Clutch
Langston Galloway and Davis made 11 out of 14 shots in the 4th quarter and overtime, including Galloway (note: NOT Steph Curry or James Harden) going 5-of-5 from the 3-point line. This is certainly his best game as a pro: 23 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals, and huge, clutch minutes in a win in a game that actually mattered. The Pelicans outscored Charlotte 47-31 in the 4th and overtime and that’s due in large part to both Galloway and AD. Galloway has only had 7 other games over 20 points, so it’s worth recognizing how good it feels to be Langston Galloway tonight!