The New Orleans Pelicans (17-26) dismantled the Orlando Magic (17-27) on Wednesday night by a final score of 118-98. The dominant theme was undoubtedly easy points as the Pelicans established a new season-high of 38 fast break points, eclipsing the previous best by 8 points (30 vs Knicks on 12/28).
“All we were doing was getting the ball out quickly,” said Alvin Gentry in his post-game comments. “I thought Jrue and Tyreke both did a good job of the picking up the pace of the game and our wings ran well.”
A total of six Pelicans scored in double figures, but Anthony Davis still managed to lead the way with 21 points, 14 rebounds and 4 assists. The best news, though, was that after mysteriously leaving for the locker room in the first half, he was able to return back to the game after x-rays on one of his fingers on his left hand came back negative, and he wasn’t forced to over exert himself (29 minutes of action) following a tough luck road trip where he suffered several other injuries.
Anthony Davis out of the locker room and sporting some fresh tape on two fingers of his left hand. pic.twitter.com/AzOswTlNwW— Oleh Kosel (@Redhopeful) January 19, 2017
Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans both took turns dominating the opposition at the point guard position. Jrue finished with a line of 14 points, 5 assists, 5 steals, 2 blocks and 2 threes in just 26 minutes while Tyreke wound up with 18 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 4 threes and 3 steals in his 20 minutes of action!
Langston Galloway finally lived up to his Greenlight moniker again by scoring in double figures for just the second time this month and finished with 18 points, 4 threes, 3 rebounds and 3 assists.
Terrence Jones, while not producing the biggest stat line (7 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists), probably exemplified the night best by hustling after a loose ball with the Pelicans leading by 25 points.
That’s the effort this blue-collar team comprised of scrappy players needs to demonstrate every single time they take the floor.
To round out the rest of the key contributors, Buddy Hield surpassed 15 minutes of playing time for the first time in three games. He finished with 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 triples in about 24 minutes of action. Dante Cunningham narrowly missed out on setting a new season-high in points (14), but it’s more important to note that he was on the move all night. Normally, both he and Solomon Hill stand around the three-point arc and wait to launch set shots after receipt of a kick-out pass from one of the playmakers. Cunningham noted it was easy for him to be more active today to Jen Hale because the Magic were really focused on limiting Davis.
Tonight was a big win with a nice display of rarely seen fireworks (113.9 offensive rating), but to go as far as to call it a statement game, I’m not sure that’s wise. The Magic just wrapped up a 6-game road trip that saw them notch a single victory. Since the calendar flipped to January, they’ve won a mere two games out of ten attempts. Furthermore, the Pelicans hit several rough patches where the Magic made several runs to make things interesting again.
Gentry made note of this too, “We have a tendency sometime of not handling prosperity well.”
Either way, it’s good to kick off the long home stand with an easy victory where the players all had fun. As it currently stands, the Pelicans are just 1.5 games out of the 8th spot in the Western Conference.
Up next, New Orleans will welcome the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, but that game will be followed by difficult matchups against the Cavaliers, Thunder, Spurs and a recently surging Wizards squad. Make it count in two days and try to steal a couple of the next four games? Sounds good, but don’t fault me for crossing my fingers and toes!