For starters, shout out to Norris Cole for having a hell of a Saturday.
Congratulations to both he and his family for having his number retired at his alma matter, Cleveland State University.
I know I went after him pretty harshly yesterday when I half-jokingly willed the Pelicans to begin their #TankFlight efforts in Cleveland, but everything I have read about Norris has shown that he is a stand up guy with a good work ethic.
Would I like him to take less contested jump shots when he has open teammates? Sure. Who wouldn't. But I am going to let that go for tonight --
Oh who am I kidding. I can't. I'm sorry Norris.
Just hit Bryce Dejean-Jones with a nice little chest pass here, buddy. You don't always have to take the contested jumper when you come off of the Anthony Davis screen. There are other options.
Of course, I am nit-picking. Cole shot 10 of 19 from the field en route to 26 points and five assists on a night where he was clearly jazzed going against his former Miami Heat colleague and "big bro," while simultaneously harnessing the built up energy of having his number retired hours before. That is no easy task. Glad he got the opportunity to ball out in response to his horrific game on Thursday night.
As for the rest of the game; there wasn't much to write home about. The first half was a sloppy slog, motivating me to temporarily boot it during the second half in favor of catching the first quarter of the Warriors and Thunder. Cleveland suffered some spatial issues without Kevin Love in the lineup and the Pelicans were throwing up some wild shots. Poor Alonzo Gee hit the side of the backboard on one corner three. Bless his heart.
At one point, I am almost positive that Joel Meyers made a statement resembling: "Well, at least that's only the fourth airball tonight."
"That's only the fourth airball tonight."@JoelMeyersNBA crushing it tonight.— David Fisher (@usnfish) February 7, 2016
^ I was right. Thanks David.
LeBron did typical LeBron things, including straight bullying Dejean-Jones in the post like I had requested:
Poor guy never stood a chance. And it's not like you can send help because LeBron stands there with his back to the basket for the entirety of the shot clock, dying for a help defender to show their hand to unlock his patented laser beam to an unguarded shooter. Not exactly the most awe-inspiring offense to "witness" (notice the pun), but that is where we are at with Cavaliers right now.
Omer Asik has been coming out of the shadows lately, gobbling up 12 rebounds along with six points last night over 29 minutes. Cleveland is a wonderful match up for him as he gets the rare opportunity to go toe to toe with a lumbering seven footer; in this case, Timofey Mozgov. Asik's contract may look ghastly in a year or two (or even now!), yet there is still some value in what he can bring on the court.
He knows what he is. A stoic, sweaty rebounding machine with brick hands. Every fast break begins with a rebound am I right?
(OK. I am done trying to talk myself into Asik for tonight. Sorry about that.)
1. Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday have cooled down.
Last week's dynamic duo combined for 18 points on on 29 shots, including a woeful 2 for 11 effort from Anderson. The Pels will not win games when those two are not cooking.
2. The Pelicans are now 0-24 when they fail to reach the 100 point plateau.
3. There was a curious sequence at the end of the first quarter where Toney Douglas -- normally a gunner -- spooked himself into not shooting a wide open corner three:
Was the threat of James coming in for the volleyball spike too much to handle? Maybe if this was 2012. What an odd display.
4. There needs to be a section of the dunk contested dedicated primarily to the art of put back slams. I call dibs on AD when the time comes:
We have all grown numb to this sort of thing from Davis. It should not be that easy.
5. The #TankFlight initiative was given its first piece of propaganda last night at the end of the first quarter!
I could not have asked for anything better to be honest. My only regret is that I didn't include the five seconds after the play where Ryan Anderson was barking at Gee for not sticking with LeBron as Anderson was in position to ICE the pick. AD bear-hugging Tristan Thompson on the left block really brings the whole sequence together.
The 99-84 loss brings New Orleans down to a paltry 18-32 on the season. The journey to accumulate more ping pong balls continues Monday night in Minnesota.