The New Orleans Pelicans fell to the Memphis Grizzlies 110-95. Anthony Davis led the way for New Orleans, finishing with 23 points, nine rebounds and three assists. On the other side, Jeff Green had a big game for Memphis, scoring 24 points and grabbing seven rebounds in 33 minutes off the bench. With the loss, the Pelicans are now 4.5 games back of Portland for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
This was a game of runs for the Memphis offense. The Grizzlies started out 9/10 from the field and finished the first quarter with 22 points. The Pelicans took a lead heading into the second, only to see Memphis run up and score 10 unanswered to take a lead heading into halftime. Swings throughout the third and fourth - spearheaded by a fourth quarter 24-6 run - turned a close game into a double-digit victory for the Grizzlies.
As a result of Memphis playing some very optimal offensive basketball, the New Orleans defense finished with some ghastly defensive stats. 60.6% from the field and 56.3% from three. It felt like Memphis was in the zone, more than New Orleans was playing poor defense, even though there were breakdowns. A tip of the hat to Mike Conley. Conley finished with 17 points and 10 assists, but it felt like every Memphis possession, he was just directing traffic and getting that best shot for the Grizzlies. Curious to see what his hockey assist total was.
The bench didn't play well. Normally anchored by Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson, the Pelicans were outscored by Memphis in bench points, thanks to the trio of Jeff Green, Mario Chalmers, and Vince Carter. Especially Vince, who knocked down some huge threes and finished an impressive dunk in the final two minutes to keep New Orleans at bay. A little after I pupu adding Jeff Green as a last cut for my trade piece, he goes for a positive performance offensively and bothers Jrue a bit on the perimeter.
And Memphis started hitting threes in the second half. They went 0-for-2 in the third but knocked down four of their six attempts, again, thanks to Vince. The Pelicans struggled to the other end, hitting just one in the fourth quarter. Guys weren't hitting shots and Memphis weren't giving them any real open shots. The Grizzlies are really good at the whole defense thing.
No Tyreke Evans but Norris Cole did his best trying to replicate the production. Cole finished with 23 points and six assists in 35 minutes of play. He also made some pretty incredible shots in the first half, even for him. Unfortunately, Holiday finished with 1-14 shooting, Ryan Anderson had a 3-9 night and when you're missing one of your main players, other players underperforming will sink you.
Full game recap in a bit.