Pelicans get over hump with biggest win of year over Celtics
To beat an elite team on the road, your best player has to go off.
Anthony Davis is the best player for the New Orleans Pelicans and he went off Tuesday night in Boston.
Davis scored 45 points and pulled down 16 rebounds, including eight offensive boards as New Orleans outlasted the Celtics 116-113 win over the Celtics at TD Garden. Davis was 13-of-15 from the free throw line.
Simply put, it was the best victory of the season for the Pelicans. With the win, New Orleans has matched its season best win streak with three in a row, the fourth time this season they have won three straight.
Perhaps the Celtics, who played in London last week, had a hangover. There are no excuses. The Pelicans were simply better most of the night and wanted it more in the end.
After playing outstanding basketball in all phases and taking the fight to the best team in the Eastern conference for three quarters, the Pelicans spit the bit in the fourth quarter, coming apart offensively, totally disjointed and ineffective and trailed 101-96 with 3:54 remaining after a 3-pointer by Daniel Theis.
Then, New Orleans showed toughness, finding its offensive game again. The Pelicans actually had a shot to win in regulation but a long 3-point attempt by Demarcus Cousins was off the mark, sending the game to overtime.
Jrue Holiday scored two big baskets down the stretch in overtime had 23 points and seven assists, Cousins finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds and five assists and Ian Clark was huge off the bench with 15 points.
After being held to three points in the first half, Kyrie Irving came alive with 24 points after the break but he had to work very hard for it, going just 8-of-24 from the field while being harassed by Holiday and Rajon Rondo. New Orleans held Boston to just 39.6 percent shooting from the field with one of its best offensive efforts of the season.
New Orleans won despite seeing its bench outscored 42-18 but that is nothing new. Boston hurt itself with 18 turnovers and the Pelicans were a plus 19 in points off of turnovers. The Pelicans dominated in the paint, outscoring the Celtics 50-30. The Pelicans had a slight edge (55-53) on the boards. New Orleans won despite shooting just 26 percent (7-for-27) from 3-point range. You can win with less than stellar shooting when you defend, rebound and force turnovers.
With tired legs, it was truly a battle of will down the stretch and New Orleans toughed it out in impressive fashion.
Now 23-20, the Pelicans are at Atlanta tomorrow night before coming home to play Memphis and Chicago, followed by a home game with Charlotte. All four games come against teams below .500.
It will be tough beating the Hawks after a short night in the sheets and off of a draining, sellout effort but Atlanta is 12-31 on the year. It can be done. It will take more minutes from reserves and effective minutes to get the job done. Davis played 44 minutes, Cousins went 42 minutes and Holiday played 40 minutes. Davis played 50 minutes in the overtime win at New York against the Knicks on Sunday.
In his last two games, Davis has 93 points and 33 rebounds with back-to-back games of 40 points or more. It is the second time in his career that he has scored 40 points or more in consecutive games. He is the best power forward in the NBA.
The Pelicans beat a team that had a seven-game streak and had a 16-game win streak earlier this season. Boston is now 18-6 at home. It was their first loss of 2018. The Pelicans are 3-2 in overtime. New Orleans is a solid road team, now 12-11 away from home. Now, it is time to become a good home team, where the Pels are a modest 11-9.
In the midst of a wildly inconsistent season of big highs and huge lows, the Pelicans seem to be finding their groove at the midway point of the season. They still need more bench production but this is a team that is becoming fun to watch, perhaps realizing their potential.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE Owner and CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Football Foundation, College…