Following the NBA trade deadline, Tim Frazier was without a team as the Trail Blazers waived him in order to make room for Anderson Varejao. Then in just 8 games played, he ripped apart the D-League by averaging close to a triple double: 15.0 points, 9.4 assists and 9.1 rebounds.
Upon entering tonight's contest on a 10-day contract, Frazier had zero practices with the Pelicans under his belt. According to Elvis Valcarcel at halftime, he arrived in Portland around the 11:00 morning hour. So, of course he knocked down his first shot attempt from the free throw line and then proceeded to drop dimes like he was still with the Maine Red Claws. In 11:06 of playing time in the first half, he tallied 7 assists.
Guess Allen Iverson should have not consistently been berated for at least one of his infamous lines. Who needs practice? Maybe some players, but definitely NOT Frazier.
As a team, the Pelicans finished with 19 assists in the first half and the ball movement was directly responsible for setting a new season-high for points in the first half of a game (74). New Orleans couldn't miss as they made 2/3's of their shot attempts, led by Ryan Anderson's 21 points on 8 of 11 from the field.
I know what some of you may be thinking, it's the Kings. It's an argument worth making but only to a degree. The Kings started the 3rd quarter on a 10-0 run against a team that had entered the game with a 7-27 road record. Sacramento had all the momentum in the world and they're a very good offensive team when they get rolling.
New Orleans held fast. (On a coaching adjustment no less! More on that in the game notes.)
Entering Sleep Train arena for a final time, the road-hapless Pelicans totaled 26 assists, tying for their sixth highest mark of the season. Incidentally, it's the same number of dimes as they had in a win against the San Antonio Spurs. In that game, Ish Smith put up a line of 17 points and 13 assists. Frazier, tonight?
Tim Frazier made staying up for this West Coast game worth it.— The Bird Writes (@thebirdwrites) March 17, 2016
14 pts (career-high)
0 tov (!!!) pic.twitter.com/GIXeN9SGSx
The best part about Frazier's performance was that the entire team followed his lead. Players not known for ever making passes leading directly to assists were suddenly looking to drop dimes. Anthony Davis was being fed in space and he had time to either seek an uncontested shot or find a better one for a fellow teammate.
After the game, Ryan Anderson exclaimed to Jen Hale, "Wow, what a player."
Yep, Tim Frazier certainly looked like an elixir against the Sacramento Kings. It will be interesting to see what he can do against his former team, the Portland Trail Blazers, this coming Friday at the Smoothie King Center.
Tim Frazier - I'm in love, but not head over heels ... yet. I'm fully aware of his shooting deficiencies, but at this point, I don't care. Until a Gentry-roster demonstrates they can pass like the World Champion Golden State Warriors, they need a player of Frazier's ilk on the roster. End of story.
Anthony Davis - AD looked like he was having fun out there as he put up 27 points and 14 rebounds. Double teams rarely found him because he was getting passes in perfect stride. If the front office truly does consult with him on personnel matters, there is absolutely no doubt he needs to get the organization to sign a Frazier, Smith, or some other quick pass-first point guard who can read defenses like Peyton Manning.
Ryan Anderson - Playing in front of his family, Anderson couldn't have started the game hotter -- he had 21 points on just 11 shots at halftime! He finished with a game-high of 29 points and added 5 rebounds, 5 threes and 3 assists (!). As if Vlade Divac needed any more convincing in attempting to bring the Flamethrower home this summer, right?
Jrue Holiday - Jrue had the quietest 17-point game I've seen in some time. I can't even remember more than 2 of his made baskets yet he finished with 7 of them. If the Pelicans decide to move Tyreke Evans in the offseason, go ahead and pencil him in as the NBA's 2017 Most Improved Player.
Toney Douglas - He just continues to play well. In making 3 of 4 from beyond the arc, he now holds the best three-point field goal percentage on the team at 39.8%.
Omer Asik - Asik re-appeared in the rotation, but that was all due to the matchup. DeMarcus Cousins is a beast so someone other than Davis is needed to play the majority of minutes on defense. Omer was his typical quiet self, but I'm more focused on the future. If there is no chance he'll consistently fit under Gentry, the Pelicans have to find a way to move him. As evidenced in Houston, he doesn't react well to a significantly reduced role on the same team.
Big Lineup - In the third quarter, Gentry unveiled for the first time this season a front line of Anderson-Asik-Davis. In nearly 7 minutes of action, the Pelicans stretched their lead from 12 points to a much more comfortable 19, this after the Kings had started the 2nd half on a 10-0 run. Great coaching adjustment!
Last season, Monty Williams used this trio for a total of 56 minutes spread out over 14 games. Gentry waited until game 67 to pull this rabbit out of his hat. Considering their success, it's a strategy he should look to employ a few more times when the situation calls for it.