Quincy Pondexter

Pelicans Fall To Grizzlies

by Jordan McGuire on April 9, 2015

pels-v-grizz-web

After an amazing victory at the Smoothie King Center on Tuesday night, the Pelicans fall hard to the Grizzlies 110-74. The Pelicans now sit tied at the eighth spot with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Luckily for the Pels, they own the tiebreaker against the Thunder, which means they can finish the season tied with the Thunder and they will still advance.

Memphis had control of the game from the tip off. It honestly never looked in doubt for the hard-nose Grizzlies. They defend, they battle, the hit shots and they looked fresh and played with energy all game.

Zach Randolph finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds, he actually had a double double going into halftime. Jeff Green and Marc Gasol each had 15 points to match Randolph’s output. The Grizzlies literally dominated in every facet of the game and took advantage of the worn down Pelicans.

Anthony Davis scored a team high 12 points. Only three Pelicans scored in double figures, Tyreke Evans with 10, Quincy Pondexter with 11 and Davis with 12. Eric Gordon struggled putting the ball in the basket going 4-13 (31%) finishing with nine points.

This by no means is the end of the world for the Pelicans. Are we inching closer to the Panic Button? Maybe. Is it time to push said button? No way. The Pelicans now get a day of rest and a day of preparation for the Phoenix Suns. The Suns are on their way out of the Western Conference playoffs as they sit 3.5 games behind the eighth spot.

Ad-dunk-web

The Thunder are currently on a four game slide and will play Sacramento Friday night. The Pelicans will host the Suns in a must win scenario. Pelicans finish the season playing at home against Phoenix, on the road at Houston and Minnesota then come home to finish out the year against the reigning champs, the San Antonio Spurs.

The Thunder’s last four remaining games is an easier path as they’ll finish with a home game with Sacramento, travel to Indiana to play the Pacers, come back home to host Portland and then travel to Minnesota to close out the year.

The Pelicans will likely have to go 3-1 in this final four game stretch to make the playoffs for the first time in the franchise’s history. Support the Pelicans Friday night at 7pm at the Smoothie King Center.

{ 0 comments }

Pelicans Hold on to Beat the Top-Seeded Warriors

by Jordan McGuire on April 8, 2015

reke-evans-web

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.

AD-web

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.

 

{ 0 comments }

PREVIEW: Pelicans Host The Warriors

by Jordan McGuire on April 7, 2015

David-Lee-vs.-Anthony-Davis-web

“Her life is in your hands, Dude. Mr. Lebowski asked me to repeat that: Her life is in your hands, Dude.” That’s what Coach Monty Williams is telling Anthony Davis about the Pelicans’ season-ending stretch. Every game counts as the Pelicans control their own destiny to make that coveted eighth spot in the Western Conference Playoffs.

Tonight the Pelicans will host the three-point assassins of the NBA, the Golden State Warriors. Led by the best shooting back court in NBA history, the Warriors are sitting pretty atop the Western Conference throne with an astonishing record of 63-14.

A little over a week ago, the New Orleans Pelicans were slotted 3.5 games behind the Russell Westbro– I mean, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Now the birds from the Crescent City are a mere .5 game back and own a tiebreaker over the Thunder, thanks to a buzzer beating, three point heroic shot from a mint condition Anthony Davis.

Luckily for the Pels, Oklahoma City has lost three in a row and have dropped five of their last six games. Another reason to count our blessings is the fact that the reigning champs and the golden godfathers of the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs, visit Oklahoma City tonight. We’ve all just become Spurs fans and fans of all teams that oppose the Thunder for the remainder of the season.

Now let’s get to the juicy preview. Pelicans will have to learn how to defend the quick hitters and the three point bombardment that will inevitably take place tonight at the Smoothie King Center. The Warriors won the last meeting between the two 112-96. This doesn’t come as a surprise as the injury-ridden Pelicans were without Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson and Omer Asik.

The long anticipated wait for Jrue Holiday is still a mystery. The young guns will undoubtedly have to sink deep down and defend well on the perimeter in order to win against the Warriors. The game will be played at a fast pace but the Pelicans will likely want to slow down and take the air out of the ball to limit fast break or quick shot opportunities for the Warriors. Steve Kerr has his guys trained to get open looks on the run and shoot at will when they’re falling. Match-up issues will be present on both ends of the court tonight as an undersized Eric Gordon might have to guard Klay Thompson, and an undersized Steph Curry might have to guard Tyreke Evans. This is where the key signing of Dante Cunningham and the acquisition of Quincy “Q-Pon” Pondexter come into play.

These two, along with Norris Cole, were absolute dynamite moves on the defensive side of the ball for Dell Demps and the Pelicans. Offensively, Pondexter has showed an amazing improvement to his outside game and has done an excellent job filling the role that Ryan Anderson has given the Pelicans time and time again. But defensively, Cunningham and Pondexter can guard everyone on the court except the center. They have done remarkable jobs keeping quick guards at bay and are able to defend and rebound in the same possession. Also the hustle is what makes them both so insanely likable. Both utility swing-men will play pivotal roles tonight as they both could guard anyone from Steph Curry all the way to Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green.

Stephen-Curry-web

Keys to the Game:

Play fast. But not too fast. Pelicans have the ability to run up and down with almost anybody in the NBA, but they don’t want to bite off more than they can chew with the Dubs from Golden State. If the Tyreke-led break can result in a quick layup or a penetrate and kick to Pondexter or Anderson trailing the break I say take it. Not only does Golden State have the most efficient offense in the league but they defend better than anyone in the NBA in the half-court.

Hedge high on every ball screen. The defensive rotation must be flawless when Steph Curry orchestrates the pick and roll. Defenders must hedge high and force Curry off the three-point line and force him to make plays dishing to rolling big men. We must make David Lee and Andrew Bogut beat us rather than letting MVP-candidate Curry to get going. Anthony Davis and Omer Asik must get quality interior rotation to limit free lanes to the basket and create difficult shots at the rim.

Feed Anthony Davis early and often. Whomever Steve Kerr puts on Anthony Davis is a match-up issue in my opinion. I don’t think anyone on the Warriors has the ability to lock down Davis. I can’t imagine David Lee trying to guard Davis 20 feet from the basket. Blowing by defenders is what Anthony Davis needs to do and then obviously knock down open jumpers. When the fourth quarter comes around, hopefully the fans will be on their feet chanting “MVP, MVP, MVP” when Anthony Davis steps to the line to solidify the much needed home victory.

Come support the Pelicans tonight at the Smoothie King Center at 7pm. After tonight, the Pelicans travel to division rival and currently third seed in the West the Memphis Grizzlies.

{ 0 comments }