It’s #sunspelicans, y’all, so a game down to the wire was all but in the bag!
The Jrue Holiday wrecking ball tour continued and New Orleans was able to outlast the Phoenix Suns 111-106 at home Monday night. The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Pelicans as Holiday finished with 30 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 blocks. He scored two straight go-ahead buckets with the game in the balance, effectively sealing the victory.
After the Pelicans had held a lead for most of the game, Phoenix was able to get enough stops — with PJ Tucker playing center against Anthony Davis — to gain a five-point lead with just 2:31 left. After Holiday and Solomon Hill free throws, Jrue made a sweet, tight spinning move for a layup to give Nola the lead at 102-101. Then, after a couple of headily-gained free throws by Eric Bledsoe to regain the lead for the Suns, Jrue put his foot down and drained a dagger stepback 3 to put the Pels up 105-103.
But back to that spinmove... in slooooooow motion:
Not to be outdone, Anthony Davis had 34 points, 9 rebounds and 5 blocks. He grabbed nearly every rebound late and made a few free throws to extinguish the Suns. A huge blocked shot against PJ Tucker with about 2 minutes left was just what the doctor ordered as Phoenix played so much in crunch time with him at the 5.
New Orleans made 18 out of 22 free throws — most of them coming in the second half — and shot 46% from the field for the game.
TJ Warren (20 points) led the way for the Suns, but he missed a bunny that would have tied the game with 30 seconds to go.
First Half, Easy Flow
Another first half, another series of uncontested layups and eh-efforts on defense for both teams. Players from both teams stayed away from contact and before you knew it, it was mid-way through the third quarter.
On a good note, Jrue made another one of his patented iso-steals, this time leading to a Buddy Hield triple — these plays always catch me off guard, but not as much as a thoughtless ball-handler. Great timing, footwork and reach by our boy Jrue. Hield finished with 11 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists.
Davis then did this to finish the half on a good note.
E’Twuan and End of Quarters
A few times throughout this game, E’Twuan Moore found himself in the post with a bigger dude guarding him, but he knew what to do and used his excellent footwork to overcome the odds. This is an interesting way of getting some second-unit offense going if Tyreke doesn’t have it going, or is out, as he was in the second half tonight due to an ankle sprain.
The Pelicans and Suns traded baskets over the final 9.1 seconds of the third quarter, but both plays were so terribly defended that it was frustrating for both teams’ fanbases. First, Solomon Hill drove by the entire Suns NBA and D-League rosters for an uncontested dunk, then with 4.3 seconds left, the entire Pelicans team closed their eyes and glued their shoes to the floor, allowing a TJ Warren layup.
Bad, bad, bad.
Nevertheless, a 34-32 advantage in the fourth quarter — thanks Jrue — wound up propelling the Pelicans to the much-needed victory.
During halftime warmups, Tyreke Evans left the floor due to an issue with his ankle. We’ll post updates as we hear more, but it couldn’t have been TOO serious. Make sure to follow @thebirdwrites for more news to come on this, and the various Jahlil Okafor, Brook Lopez, Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca trade rumors. They’re all around us!