The spirit of Jackie Moon and the Flint Michigan Tropics were upon us at the Smoothie King Center last night. The race for eighth place has a new front runner and its the New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans score 60 points in the second frame to erase a twelve point deficit going into halftime and held on to win 103-100 against the NBA’s best, Golden State Warriors.
The win last night catapulted the Pelicans into the eighth spot of the Western Conference playoffs. The match-up last night could’ve potentially been a preview for the first round of the playoffs. The Pels are perched just a .5 game ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder who lost 113-88 against the San Antonio Spurs last night.
Anthony Davis led all scorers with 29 points, 23 of which came in the second half. Curry led the Warriors with 25 points and had a chance to tie it at the buzzer but thankfully rimmed out. Draymond Green dominated the Pelicans scoring 24 points and grabbed 14 boards. For the Pelicans, the unsung hero Quincy Pondexter played an incredible game and had the crowd whipped into a frenzy with every big three pointer hit or every big defensive play. Q Pon finished with 20 points shooting a perfect 4-4 from beyond the three point line.
The game did not start pretty for the Pelicans as Andrew Bogut blocked layups and dunk attempts for the entire first half. Bogut would finish with nine blocks. Curry got hot, as usual scoring 16 of his 25 points in the first half. Anthony Davis had an abysmal first half as his plus/minus was -11. Then, the third quarter happened. The booze must’ve kicked in just at the right time for the home crowd as every basket was followed by a united roar. The comeback was on.
Davis went 5-6 in the third quarter alone to score 13 points. It didn’t stop there as Eric Gordon and Quincy Pondexter both knocked down consecutive threes to pace the Pelicans to a 79-78 lead going into the fourth.
Jump to about 3:00 remaining in the fourth quarter after a Steph Curry layup. Pelicans down 95-92 looking to be in a world of trouble. Defiantly the young Pelicans channel an 8-0 run and turned the Warriors over three times and ultimately hold on to victory.
Keys of the Game:
Pelicans got out on the break in the second half and poured in 60 second half points alone. They hit timely threes and defended and rebounded when they needed to. Davis and Asik both recorded 10 rebounds in the win.
Steph Curry made the game close going 5-8 from three point range. The Pelicans frantically chased him around the three point arc but Curry’s quickness and insane ball handles created jumpers that sent “ooo’s” and “ahh’s” throughout the crowd.
Final key is the defensive job of Tyreke Evans, Dante Cunningham and Eric Gordon on Team USA Gold Medalist Klay Thompson. Thompson was held to only seven points shooting 2-10 from the field. Thompson was also forced into making four turnovers.
Next up for the Pelicans is the rugged Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night. The race for the eighth spot continues as the Thunder will host the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.