I’m beginning this post with a picture of the pizza I had yesterday. That was a Domino’s Brooklyn style pizza that cost me all of $7.13, pre-tip. I agree with you, that’s a great deal! You can get half off any online order the day after any Pelicans victory. You may remember that last year that offer applied to Papa John’s. Maybe Papa John’s was worried the Pelicans were going to win too many games, so the team had to holler at our friends at Domino’s. Either way, I plan on the Pels ruining my diet over the next two-and-a-half months. One playoff berth and two chins is my motto. Yesterday I may or may not have eaten Domino’s TWICE, because the Pelicans’ win was just that tasty.
On Monday, the Pelicans played the Atlanta Hawks. Well, if you’re familiar with sports twitter, they were actually called the Atlanta HaWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWks. The Hawks were on a 19-game win streak, and as the wins started piling up, the team’s twitter account started adding Ws to its name to keep with the streak. On Monday, the team came to New Orleans to get their 20th consecutive W. AND ANTHONY DAVIS AND HIS HENCHMEN OF DESTRUCTION TURNED THEM INTO THE HALKS.
The Pelicans started off hot and never looked back. After taking a 16-14 lead with an Eric Gordon three in the first quarter, New Orleans never trailed again. They finished up by 10 after one quarter, extended it to 13 after two and ended up comfortably winning 115-100. It was a gorgeous team win against a team that plays gorgeous team ball. The Hawks are a relentless hydra of shooters and drivers who space the floor, move the ball and punish you wherever space is leftover. Monday, the Hawks weren’t quite at peak-Hawks levels, as the ball didn’t ping around side to side, and the team missed some open shots.
However, the Pelicans still played their asses off, fighting on defense and contesting most shots. While Jeff Teague got to the rim relentlessly, the Pelicans stuck to the outside shooters and trusted their rim protection to keep him from lighting the team up. Teague going 8-17 for 21 points will suffice when Paul Millsap and Al Horford combine to shoot 9 for 23. The home team followed up good defense by bodying the Hawks on the boards. The Pelicans outrebounded the Hawks 52-32, with Asik and AD combining to get 30 themselves. Asik had 17 to AD’s 13. He even went 2/2 on free throw trips twice in one half! I know, I know: CRAY.
The Pelicans’ competitive defense was supported by some pristine offense. The Pelicans sported a 55.2 effective Field Goal percentage.* That 55.2 eFG% would be better than the Warriors’ league-leading 54.2 eFG% over the season. The team’s ball movement had me thinking I had licked a toad before tipoff. Plays like this and that are how your team ends up with 30 assists on 43 baskets. Six Pels players scored in double digits, and Asik had nine. It was a wonderful performance by everyone involved.
But, as usual, this team was led by our sweet prince, the cyborg wunderkind known around here as Altron. Anthony Davis came out determined to change the Hawks’ twitter handle, scoring a nice eight in the first quarter. Then in the second quarter he decided it was time to embarrass people. Anthony dropped another 11 in the second frame to finish with a cool 19 and 7 at halftime. He finished with a 29-13-3AST-2BLK-1STL line, which is just another day at the office when you are the Destroyer of Worlds. He was hitting his jumper from outside, getting feeds for easy dunks and then doing it all on his own for putbacks. I mean, look at this shit:
Poor DeMarre Carroll. You came back after two games off and this is what you get greeted to. You never had any idea Basketball Predator was there, and then whoops now your life is over.
FACT: That putback proves that on the body hair ranking, unibrows are decidedly above dreadlocks.
FACT: When people in New Orleans make the sign of the cross, instead of touching our left and right shoulders we just touch our left and right eyebrows then pantomime scrunching them together.
FACT: Thank you Anthony you are perfect Anthony can I name my child Anthony Marshon Davis III even if you’re not the father please *goes and watches AD’s full Hawks highlights and blacks out*
…*wakes up to drool on pillow*
Okay, okay I’m back. Anyways, this was a wonderful win. It makes the Pelicans winners of six out of their last seven. This win followed Friday’s victory over the Clippers when our beaked heroes were missing both Jrue Holiday AND Altron. What’s best about this recent run is it looks like we’re finally seeing the growth we’ve been waiting for. After every frustrating loss to tanking teams, we kept hearing about how the Pelicans are young, how they still need time to gel.
Well, it looks like some gellin’ is happening. The offense looks smoother, as opposed to ugly hero-ball with guys waiting for each other to make a play. Tyreke is more comfortable as the lead ball handler, figuring out what space he gets with AD’s rolls and where his shooters are. Tyreke has had 12 or more assists in 4 out of the last 5 games. TYREKE EVANS, THE CREATOR/COMMISSIONER/MVP OF TYREKEBALL, HAS 12 ASSISTS IN FOUR OF THE LAST FIVE GAMES. Eric Gordon looks wonderful since his return from injury (more on that in another post), picking his spots and serving as a great spot up shooter and secondary ball handler. Dante Cunningham and Quincy Pondexter have been great additions, stabilizing the Pelicans at the wing position and adding some toughness, athleticism and shooting at a spot the Pels desperately needed it. While this little run has occurred during a homestand, the team looks genuinely impressive. I’m excited to see them take their act on the road and make a push for the playoffs. Let’s hope the Pelicans can send my cholesterol skyrocketing through the roof.
*eFG% accounts for the extra value of a 3 point shot. So someone who shot only 2 pointers and made 50% of them would have the same eFG% as someone who solely shot 3 pointers and made 33.3% of them.