And with that the Pelicans’ 2016-17 season has finally come to a close.
New Orleans ends the year with a 103-100 win over the playoff bound Portland Trailblazers. With the win, New Orleans put a stop to a five-game losing streak that had plagued them the entire month of April and won their first game in the Moda Center since November of 2010. 11 straight losses coming into tonight if you were keeping count — nobody beats the Pelicans 12 straight times at their place, no sir.
Considering there was no Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum, the game wound up fairly entertaining. New Orleans was trailing by eight after the first, fought back and tied the game at halftime, ended the third down seven, but put the clamps on Portland defensively and walked out with a three-point victory. After allowing 32 points in the third, New Orleans only allowed 15 in the fourth while putting up 25 themselves.
Games like tonight are meant to showcase young players and this one was no exception. Cheick Diallo continued to shine for New Orleans and followed up his double-double against the Lakers with a 12 point, 16 rebound game. Diallo joins Anthony Davis as the only 19-year-olds in franchise history to have a 15+ rebounding performance. Small sample size of course but over the last two nights Diallo averaged 15.5 points and 13.5 rebounds on 68 percent shooting. I don’t know if that means anything, but I think we can all agree there’s something brewing here.
Really there’s not much else to really talk about from the season finale. Quinn Cook scored 11 points in 20 minutes. Axel Toupane was a perfect 4-4 and scored eight points. Jordan Crawford continued to cook grits instantly with 15 points and hit three of his four three pointers.
New Orleans finishes the year 34-48, the 10th worst record in the league. The Draft Lottery takes place May 16 and, as we all know, New Orleans owes Sacramento their first round pick if it falls outside the top three. After that there are decisions to be made regarding the roster. Is Jrue Holiday back in a Pelican uniform next year? What about Omer Asik or Quincy Pondexter? Are Alvin Gentry and Dell Demps retained? These questions and more should be answered in the coming weeks.
Welcome to the offseason.