Pelicans win in triple OT, close road trip 3-0
In a grueling battle at the end of both a road trip and a back-to-back, the young New Orleans Pelicans took a step forward in the maturation process Monday night in Chicago. The team that struggled earlier this season with cohesion instead showcased a new resolve and resiliency in their last second win over the Bulls in triple overtime.
“I’m not sure that I have ever played in one like this, and I know I haven’t coached one like this,” head coach Monty Williams said. “We just put our heart and soul into a game like this and it takes a lot out of you. I’m proud of how we came back and won this one, particularly without AD and Greg. This win is really about the heart and character of the guys in that locker room.”
The Pelicans were without star forward Anthony Davis due to his fractured hand. Back up Greg Steimsma is still out with a knee issue. During the game, New Orleans lost starting center Jason Smith and reserve big man Lou Amundson during overtime when both fouled out.
As the final seconds ticked off, starting point guard Jrue Holiday perfectly executed the play Williams had drawn up, knocking down the game winning layup to give New Orleans the 131-128 victory.
“I was surprised how open I was,” Holiday said. “Coach just called a good play. I don’t think I have ever been that wide open with four seconds left. We came out here tonight in a triple overtime and played with the will to win. This was one of the most fun games I’ve been a part of.”
Holiday finished the game with 19 points and 12 assists.
This win was a promising display of clutch group effort. Starting shooting guard Eric Gordon knocked down a critical 3-pointer as time ran out during the first overtime period to force the second overtime and keep New Orleans in the game despite an attack from the Bulls. During that second overtime period, small forward Al Farouq Aminu came alive, scoring seven of the Pelicans’ first nine points, proving New Orleans has weapons all over the court.
Sharp shooter Ryan Anderson set the tone all night, as has been the case for almost every game he’s played in this season. Anderson set a new career high with 36 points, after enduring almost 57 minutes of play.
“What time is it, 1 am?” a weary, but happy Anderson asked in the locker room after the game.
Six Pelicans were in double digits, as the team once again relied on an up tempo pace, beating the Bulls 23-6 in fast break points.
New Orleans also triumphed over the Philadelphia 76ers and the New York Knicks this road trip, marking the first time this team has won 3 consecutive road games since January 2011.
Anderson tweeted out:
God is good! 3 great team wins on the road. We gotta keep rollin!
— Ryan Anderson (@ryananderson33) December 3, 2013
This string of victories shows important growth for the Pelicans in two areas where they’ve struggled: closing games and winning away from home. The team also managed to appear no worse for the wear after winning a tight, hard fought battle just 24 hours prior versus the Knicks.
Reserve Anthony Morrow contributed 8 points to the win and tweeted this postgame:
— Anthony Morrow (@MrAnthonyMorrow) December 3, 2013
This surging 9-8 team will have Tuesday off, then face the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday in the New Orleans Arena.