Holiday’s jumper lifts unbeaten Pelicans over Nets, 117-115

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Jrue Holiday

For 46 minutes, the Brooklyn Nets were the better team. Down seven and two minutes away from their first loss of the season, the New Orleans Pelicans found a way.

You can call it lucky, or even Christmas in October but the Pelicans were given a gift Friday night in the form of a 117-115 win at the Smoothie King Center.

Jrue Holiday’s pull-up jumper with two seconds remaining capped off a dramatic comeback fueled by a game-ending 9-0 run and some incredible blunders by the Nets. He led all scorers with 26 points to go along with 5 assists and three rebounds.

Holiday would have never had the chance to win it without Brooklyn (2-3) taking ill-advised shots and committing turnovers.

Leading by one, with the ball and the shot clock off, all the Nets had to do was either take a foul or run out the clock.

While the Pelicans furiously chased the ball around the court looking to foul, the ball found its way into the hands of D’Angelo Russell. Russell swung the ball to his right trying to stay ahead of the defense, but instead of finding Caris LeVert his pass sailed out of bounds to set up Holiday’s heroics.

“I mean at that point we were trying to foul and we couldn’t get to them there,” Holiday said. “Obviously, the ball moves faster than the person can, so they were doing a good job until then.”

New Orleans (4-0) didn’t draw up anything fancy. Not with plenty of time on the clock and not with AD and Jrue at their disposal. New Orleans went with a simple pick and roll with its two best players. It worked like a charm, sending the Smoothie King Center crowd into a frenzy.

“I guess I was just thinking that Anthony (Davis) is going to come and set the screen and I’m going to get it to Anthony somehow,” said Holiday of that final play. “When he sets the screen he attracts so many people that I can get a wide open shot and I took it.”

The Nets called a timeout to set up a final shot with two seconds on the clock. As Brooklyn huddled, Pelicans forward Solomon Hill walked towards the Nets bench. As he got near, Nets forward Ed Davis gave Hill a push to keep him away.

Hill was sent sprawling across the floor and Davis was assessed a technical foul. Holiday drained that one as well.

“Solomon’s Spill” was a heady play from one of the team’s most observant players.

“I just learned from Jared Dudley. Being a veteran out there and basically at the end of the day man, don’t hate the player, hate the game,” said Hill, summarizing the situation succinctly.” “I tried to look at their play and a guy put himself in a situation that he probably shouldn’t put himself in and things happened. We were still up one. That’s out of my control, but my whole thing was just the next play; get up and be worried about the next play.”

The other Davis in the game, Anthony, then stole the inbounds pass from Joe Harris to keep the Pelicans’ win streak alive.

A year ago probably, two years ago definitely, this was the type of game that the Pelicans would have lost. A game where Anthony Davis was limited to 18 points on 6-of-19 shooting, and Niko Mirotic added only 10 more, should have spelled defeat for the Pels. This year though, there is a new confidence in the locker room and all around this team.

There is no panic.

That was the difference between a Pelicans team that has its identity and a Nets squad still trying to find its own.

That resiliency will be put to the test as the Pels host the Utah Jazz to finish their four-game homestand. Utah last played on Wednesday night, defeating the Houston Rockets 100-89. The Jazz will come in rested and ready to give New Orleans its first loss of the season.

It should be another emotional night as Anthony Davis faces off against the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert.

Utah was 2-0 against the Pelicans with Gobert in the lineup last season, and 3-1 versus New Orleans overall.

Game time is set for 6:10 pm at the Smoothie King Center.

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David Grubb

Sports 1280am host/CCS reporter

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David Grubb has more than a decade of experience in the sports industry. He began his career with KLAX-TV in Alexandria, La. and followed that up with a stint as an reporter and anchor with WGGB-TV in Springfield, Mass. After spending a few years away from the industry, David worked as sports information director for Southern University at New Orleans…

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