Anthony Davis with an appearance in Boston? We must start here!
Trade deadline is around the corner... pic.twitter.com/lUEAjKVpjj— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 16, 2018
Prior to enjoying being paid for my work, I briefly served as an art teacher at a magnet high school in the New Orleans area. Before hopping on to write this recap, I spent a minute polishing up my resume and have applied to all Boston area schools in search of this child — my goal — ensure he never draws again. We the people of New Orleans are tired of your constant wooing of our superstar and your terrible trade packages that “make sense.”
The above tweet has me hoping that Noah doesn’t have terrible politics, but could they be any worse than that tweet? Jimmy Soul warned us in his very antiquated yet soulful way that we should worry when beauty finds its way into our arms — the vultures will circle and slide into their DMs and wrote 10,000 word think pieces about how everything we have built for our love is failure.
You don’t have to worry about Bill Simmons constantly criticizing the roster Dell Demps built around Greg Steimsma, but is that truly happiness? We just have to trust that we’ve made a home here with Anthony Davis and that he is serious in his commitment to playing winning basketball in New Orleans — in spite of the lure of bigger cities and promised rings. Lets not fall into the insecure and rather superficial concerns of Jimmy Soul and continue to strengthen our relationship with Anthony Davis.
This game would have been exciting and a great test of where the Pelicans are without this constant AD to Boston trade talk subplot, but that subplot has also made this victory all that much sweeter. Also, while Boston continually tries to steal our treasure, we have already claimed one of theirs.
At the end of the national anthem while it was still relatively quiet, a Boston fan (I think from upper bowl) yelled "Rondo!" Which drew a huge ovation from sections of TD Garden— Jim Eichenhofer (@Jim_Eichenhofer) January 17, 2018
While the Pelicans would start the game a bit ragged on offense, you couldn’t criticize their efforts early on. The Pelicans attacked the rim early, they had very active hands on defense in creating several turnovers and you could see an emphasis on boxing out and crashing the glass on both ends.
Jrue Holiday started off the scoring with a rare trip to the line off of a nice feed from DeMarcus Cousins. Holiday’s inability to get calls despite his hard drives to the rim is becoming almost comical at this point. Though he attacked all game he’d only get two more free throws throughout regulation and over time. Boogie would hit our first bucket with a potential four point play that would end up remaining a three point play due to the missed free throw.
However, the Pelicans would get cold from deep, converting only 26% on the night. Still, in the first quarter shooting would matter because the Pelicans weren’t settling. They were riding physical handsy defense and turning Boston turnovers into points.
#Pelicans taking advantage of some sloppy play by Celtics, picking off passes and scoring at other end. Boston needs timeout, with NOP up 9-5 early— Jim Eichenhofer (@Jim_Eichenhofer) January 17, 2018
Jrue was tasked with guarding Jayson Tatum and again would demonstrate that when he’s guarding up he has the advantage — making Tatum look foolish trying to post him up at the rim.
Jrue Holiday is having none of your post offense, Mr. Tatum— Mason Ginsberg (@MasonGinsberg) January 17, 2018
Holiday should cover more SF when the strength of the perimeter is on the wing— #InDempsWeTrust (@phelpsalot) January 17, 2018
Cousins effort level was high to start the game and he carried over his hands up defending leading to this beautiful strip and one-man fast break transition dunk.
Cousins Steal and Score!— James Grayson (@jsgrayson) January 17, 2018
Has been jumping the passing lanes well of late. pic.twitter.com/oPY6IC5mmU
Rajon Rondo also opened the game sharp and engaged — running a stuck in molasses pick-and-roll action with Cousins, but still perfectly squeezing the ball in for an easy dunk.
In the opening frame, Rondo was trusted with guarding Kyrie Irving, which would seem like a recipe for disaster. However, he hounded Irving on every possession and kept him scoreless on just two shots in the quarter. Meanwhile he continued to create on the other end.
It took a few minutes for the Pels to get Davis involved, but once they did he continued his string of great play since returning from his latest ankle injury. He took over to close the 1st quarter.
However, Jrue Holiday would steal some of his thunder with a great scoop in the closing seconds — putting the Pels up 10.
To start the second the Pelicans would revert to jump shooting, and the jumper was not being kind. Despite getting away from attacking the rim the energy on defense remained consistent — including some nice rotations from Ian Clark — who has gone from dog house resident to closer in the last week — a trend Pelicans’ twitter loves.
In fact, it was Clark that was keeping the Pelicans afloat while Boston took advantage of Anthony Davis getting some rest.
Despite Clark’s best efforts, the 2nd quarter let doubt creep into fans’ minds as shots and beautiful opportunities were not being converted.
It didn't matter, but DAMN pic.twitter.com/xpiHC0uagS— Off the Glass (@otgbasketball) January 17, 2018
Meanwhile, Boston was building confidence and playing with more energy.
However, despite several seemingly easy makes at the rim not converting, New Orleans would keep attacking with some eventual payoff.
And then of course Anthony Davis would check back in and everything would again feel right. Davis was relentless on the offensive glass all night creating a slew of second chance opportunities. Clark and Rondo would continue to play inspired.
Best I’ve seen Rondo look in awhile. This Pelicans offense is humming.— Charles LaRocca (@CLaRoccaJr) January 17, 2018
Rondo has played as good of defense on Kyrie as anyone has this year.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) January 17, 2018
Glass would be attacked, rebounds grabbed and a strong finish to the half had the Pelicans looking like one of the best teams in the NBA.
Fully endorsing the attack the glass Pelicans. Especially against this opponent.— The Bird Writes (@thebirdwrites) January 17, 2018
Perhaps we were on to something on the latest pod with AD establishing the hierarchy in the past 2 games and how attacking the basket translates to effort in all aspects of the game.— Kevin Barrios (@kevinbforbounce) January 17, 2018
End of the 1st half: Pelicans lead the Celtics, 58-48. Davis 25 points and 8 rebounds, Cousins 12 points and 9 rebounds, Rondo 5 points and 5 assists. Kyrie Irving 3 points on 0-of-5 shooting— Will Guillory (@WillGuillory) January 17, 2018
Great first half, come out with that same energy in the second.— Ryan Hebert (@RyanHebert89) January 17, 2018
Unfortunately Ryan, it would take the Pelicans a while to get that energy back. Holiday who struggled with his jumper in the first would open up scoring with a jumpshot.
However, Kyrie would also find his groove early with his first three of the night.
All of the effort the Pelicans were playing with in the first half would seem like an eternity ago as they would settle for jumpshots, giving their lead away. Cousins wasn’t dominant offensively in the first half, but he was engaged. He’d start the the second half a bit aloof with some bad defensive lapses. The Pelicans looked asleep — even allowing an offensive rebound off and and-1 free throw miss — luckily AD was still locked in and prevented what looked like a sure four point possession with a timely block.
#Pelicans relying too much on the 3 ball to start the 2nd half. Celtics are on an 11-0 run and have tied the game at 64.— Daniel Sallerson (@dsallerson) January 17, 2018
5 on 3 and we take a Rondo 3 ♂️— Kevin Barrios (@kevinbforbounce) January 17, 2018
We are jump shooting our lead away— Kevin Barrios (@kevinbforbounce) January 17, 2018
Jrue would get to the rim again and put an end to the run. Davis would hit a dramatic turnaround jumper to retake the lead which our love for the jumper had squandered earlier. While the Pelicans would still settle too much for the jumper in the third, they were doing enough to keep afloat — taking some of Boston’s best shots — including an offensive explosion from Kyrie Irving who’d hit four three pointers in the third. Davis, Holiday and Clark would do enough counter punching to eventually take the lead back up to seven, but the much maligned Dante Cunningham was also having his best game this season with his rebounding and defense despite not scoring a single point.
Holiday had 12 points in the period and did a great job of answering Kyrie's hot start to the half. Pels in control heading to the 4th— Will Guillory (@WillGuillory) January 17, 2018
Won't show in the boxscore, but Dante Cunningham has given the Pelicans some nice minutes tonight.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) January 17, 2018
Darius Miller, who struggled with his shot in the previous three quarters, opened up the scoring in the fourth with a tightly contested three.
However, the opening minutes of the fourth would deteriorate with sloppy play from Cousins and Rajon Rondo who inexplicably fouled Marcus Smart on a three-point attempt.
The fourth has not started well for Boogie. Pelicans really need to rebound aggressively with AD out.— David Grubb (@DMGrubb) January 17, 2018
Everything good Rondo did in the first half he’s undoing in the second. Brutal start to this 4th quarter.— Charles LaRocca (@CLaRoccaJr) January 17, 2018
Davis couldn’t rest for long with Rondo and Cousins not being able to carry the team in his absence, but Kumar has been warning us of this trend for a while.
Rondo's two-man pairings since 11/18, since he became a mainstay in the Pels starting lineup. Doesn't quite play well with anyone in particular, but plays massively better without Boogie. pic.twitter.com/QRwrh2n6L6— Kumar (@FearTheBrown) January 12, 2018
However, Clark would replace Rondo, and cement his theft of all of Jameer Nelson’s minutes by even stealing his classic toe on the line deep two go to move.
Literally taking Jameer’s minutes with that toe on the line https://t.co/M97vBDSwuB— Kevin Barrios (@kevinbforbounce) January 17, 2018
The national media folks didn’t understand Alvin Gentry’s move to stick with Clark, but Pelicans Twitter has been clamoring for it for months.
Trust us. It’s for the best. https://t.co/CPh7Ut9pFf— Kevin Barrios (@kevinbforbounce) January 17, 2018
Ian Clark producing maybe his most valuable game of the season. Hits a floater to give him 15 pts on 7/10 FGs. Tied at 101 after Jrue nails a trey— Jim Eichenhofer (@Jim_Eichenhofer) January 17, 2018
Ian Clark with a huge rebound and he wins the tip on a jump ball.He's been so valuable— Will Guillory (@WillGuillory) January 17, 2018
The Pelicans and Celtics would trade buckets to close the fourth in an exciting back and forth game. However, with a chance to add to a late lead, E’Twaun Moore has a terrible turnover that allows Kyrie Irving to tie the game. Still, the Pelicans get the ball with a chance to end the game in regulation and Jrue Holiday dribbles the ball off a defenders foot in iso. We’ve seen this before.
Jrue dribbling the clock out...— Hugh (@NOLAhugh) January 17, 2018
i have seen this before....
A kick ball with 1.5 stopping a Jrue iso— Andrew Smith (@DruProductions) January 17, 2018
Oh man.— Scott Kushner (@ScottDKushner) January 17, 2018
Holiday and Davis take over in overtime. Davis has a great putback off of a missed Cousins three to give him 8 offensive rebounds on the night.
And thankfully, despite having a bit of a tough game, despite some great effort early — Cousins makes two really big plays in overtime — a tough finish at the rim and a great steal that would lead to Jrue Holiday putting the Pelicans up three with some nice touch off the glass. Yet, the game ball must once again go to Anthony Davis, who did everything tonight.
#Pelicans displayed impressive guts in back to back overtime road wins in hostile environments. This one, against the Eastern Conference’s best, was big time.— Scott Kushner (@ScottDKushner) January 17, 2018
Anthony Davis has been MVP level spectacular since returning from ankle injury.
AD in his last two games: 93 points on 51.6% shooting pic.twitter.com/op56Nw80gi— StatMuse (@statmuse) January 17, 2018
Games like tonight really remind you and make you value the game of basketball and why you work every day. So many factors that went in to a great team win. Big time stuff by the Pels. #DoITBig #atlbound #40backtoback #kidisreallygood— Jamelle McMillan (@JamelleMac) January 17, 2018
Still Holiday and Clark deserve a lot of credit for this win as well, and Twitter gave them their due. Davis has been special, but he hasn’t been doing it alone.
These two back to back overtime wins are the most fun I've had in a while. Great team play by the Pels.— Kumar (@FearTheBrown) January 17, 2018
This is about the best I've ever seen Kyrie defended 1 on 1. Jrue doing an outstanding job.— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) January 17, 2018
Ian Clark: From DNP to Finishing 5.— Kevin Barrios (@kevinbforbounce) January 17, 2018
Next up, the Atlanta Hawks. No trap music, no trap games.