The New Orleans Pelicans found a way to seal their first home victory of the season in a wild game against the Boston Celtics.
There’s wild games, and then there’s the kind of game the New Orleans Pelicans just played.
Still, the young Pels were able to find a way to seal their first home victory of the season against one of the Eastern Conference’s best in the Boston Celtics.
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After the Pelicans led by as many as 14 in the third quarter, the offensive inefficiencies kicked in full gear in the fourth quarter. New Orleans scored just 22 points in the final quarter, after scoring at least 27 in the first three frames.
All seemed lost when the Celtics took a 102-100 lead with two minutes left in the game. However, the Pelicans locked down their defense and held the Celtics to five points in the final two minutes.
With 33 seconds left, Boston led 103-102. However, Anthony Davis drew a foul on an offensive rebound and sank two free throws. Tim Frazier added another point off an inbound turnover, yet Isaiah Thomas got an easy layup to tie the game with seven seconds left.
Frazier countered with a fantastic play in transition, faking Kelly Olynyk into a foul on a jumper with less than two seconds left. Tim made one free throw and Boston could not get another shot before the final buzzer sounded.
It’s easy to say a win is massive for a team near the bottom of the standings, but this is the first win on their home turf. This game means a lot to the team and the fans.
Tim Frazier had some of the game changing plays that saved the Pelicans tonight. However, he also had some of the plays that nearly cost New Orleans this game as well. Frazier finished with ten points and six assists. He was okay overall, but not enough to keep Isaiah Thomas contained. A tough matchup for him tonight.
Buddy Hield started due to an injury to E’Twaun Moore that kept the original starting shooting guard out of the entire game. Hield did not have a strong game against Avery Bradley, which is not completely unexpected. Hield shot 2-7 from the field and 1-4 from behind the arc. Defensively, he was subbed out a lot late in the game, showing he still needs work in that area.
Another continuing theme of the Pelicans is showing here: The starters are not having great games overall. Dante Cunningham played just 23 minutes and did not put up great stats. His defense is the reason he’s playing in key moments of the game, but other than that, his contributions became limited once his shooting cooled off.
The amount of work Anthony Davis is needed to put in to keep the Pelicans in games is starting to get worrisome. Davis put up great numbers: 25 points, 16 rebounds, four steals and two blocks. However, Davis looked tired and hurt all night. He’s clearly suffering from the fatigue of the workload he’s taken on. In an 82 game season, that will begin to backfire on the Pels sooner than later.
Omer Asik only played 12 minutes, due to a poor matchup against a smaller Celtics team. Still, four points and four rebounds is not bad for the big man in his limited role.
Offensive Weapon Langston Galloway arrived tonight in the most unexpected way. Galloway shot 8-14 from the field and 3-5 from behind the arc for 21 key points for New Orleans. His hands also became a key on defense, as he finished with two steals in the game. That’s the most you can expect from Galloway in the long haul. He delivered exactly what the Pelicans needed for the win tonight.
Archie Goodwin did not have a fantastic game, shooting the ball 1-4 from the field. However, the one key stat that helped the Pelicans win from Goodwin was his ability to get to the line. Archie went 6-6 from the free-throw line tonight, massive when thinking about how close this game got at the end. Hopefully his play will improve with time learning the system.
Solomon Hill is an odd case. His seven rebounds and acceptable defense helped the Pelicans stay alive and eventually win this game. However, his five fouls and two turnovers made things tougher than they needed it to be. Hill did have an unbelieveable dunk on top of Marcus Smart that was negated by a charge call.
Terrence Jones was the deciding factor in this game….wait what? That’s right, Terrence Jones changed the complexion of the battle completely. He finished with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds, with three of them on the offensive end. He also had two blocks and shot 7-12 from the field. He was everywhere. Causing havoc on the glass and working hard in transition to set up easy points and shut down the Celtics rush. This was a huge game for Jones, who wants to prove he can be a key contributor for this Pelicans team.
Alexis Ajinca scored four points in six minutes on 2-4 shooting. That’s what he’s in the game to do. Score. That’s it. He did that with two rebounds. So, that is merit for something, right?
The free-throw differential changed everything, as the Pelicans earned 36 free throw attempts in the game, compared to just 20 for the Celtics. New Orleans made 30 of those attempts too, which ended up being one of the keys to the win.
New Orleans’ game plan seemed set on letting Boston fire from deep, while trying to attack from mid-range. While the Pelicans shot 44.3% from the field with just 21 three’s attempted, the Celtics shot a wild 41 three-point attempts in the game, making 12 of them.
The Pelicans used their length to contest a lot of Celtics shots tonight. New Orleans finished with four blocks in the game. Boston, however, could not get in the Pelicans way of shooting, failing to record a block all game.
The New Orleans Pelicans will look to make it two wins in a row for the first time this season, as they travel to Orlando to play the Magic Wednesday Night. Tip is scheduled for 6:00 PM CST.