A better team than their name could possibly suggest, the New Orleans Pelicans scraped by the Celtics, in part to both Anthony David and their bench. The final was 95-92.
Neither team got off to a particularly hot start. The Celtics being the colder of the two, shot 8-20 in the first quarter; while the Pelicans managed to stay a little above that due to their production from Tyreke Evans off the bench. Avery Bradley had himself yet another good start, scoring seven on 3-5 shooting. Anthony Davis provided a little bit of everything for the Pelicans in the first, with six points, two assists, a steal, a block – and no rebounds.
The offense picked up a tick in the second quarter, lead in part by an early charge from Brandon Bass. He had a couple strong two-handed jams, and complemented that with a good outside shooting-stroke. He finished the half 6-6 from the field. Jordan Crawford struggled to score or do anything too productive, shooting just 1-5 with two turnovers. The Pelicans led 49-43 at halftime and Anthony Davis still didn’t have a rebound.
The Pelicans are loaded at the guard position. Just last year, they drafted Austin Rivers – a kid many thought would be an NBA-level scorer from day one. That certainly didn’t pan out, but now, they split minutes between Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, and Tyreke Evans. Although we didn’t see their full effect tonight, any one of those guys are entirely capable of going off; and now Rivers is a garbage time guy at best. On top of that,they’ve got a good oversized three-point specialist in Ryan Anderson to help spread the floor and unclog the paint, making room for the guards (although he suffered a rough injury in the fourth quarter).
Things stayed close for just about all of the third quarter, neither team could really open things up in their favor. The highlight of the period – was when Avery Bradley had a mini version of his Dwyane Wade block from two years ago. Bradley snuck up behind Jrue Holiday near the top of the key and stole the ball mid release with only one hand. It’s a wonder why we don’t see more those kind of plays more across the NBA, guys are certainly athletic enough. The Celtics took a brief lead around the three-minute mark on another Brandon Bass rebound and put-back, but the Pelicans came back to take a 73-72 lead at the end of the third.
Things got off to an alarming start in the fourth quarter, when Ryan Anderson and Gerald Wallace collided trying for a loose-ball inbound pass. It didn’t look too bad at first, but a replay showed their heads collided, and Anderson’s neck whipped backwards. He remained on the court for several minutes with what looked like a head/neck injury, and eventually had to be lifted onto a stretcher to be taken for evaluation.
Things heated up at the end. With just under five minutes left, Jeff Green hit a three to give Boston an 86-83 lead. A few possessions later Jordan Crawford hit a mid range jumper – leading to a momentum shift and a New Orleans time out. The Pelicans gathered both themselves and the lead behind a couple of buckets in the paint. Now down by just a point, Avery Bradley drove and missed a layup, one which appeared to draw a foul from former Celtic Greg Stiemsma – but nothing was called. Jared Sullinger had a chance to send it to overtime with a contested three at the buzzer, but it fell far off the mark. Final, 95-92.
Bass recorded a double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds) with over three minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Looked like Sullinger replaced yesterday’s hand-wrap with a smaller, less cumbersome version. Didn’t seem to help much, though. Jared shot just 3-17.
Brandon Bass, who shot 8-10 from the field for a 16 point/11 rebound statline.
The Celtics were whistled for 10 first-half fouls, twice as many as the Pelicans (five).
Combined, Jordan Crawford and Jared Sullinger shot 5-31 form the field. Ouuuuch.
Avery Bradley’s block and steal
Jeff Green throws down in transition
- Pelicans bench outscored their starters 35-14 in the first half.
- Greg Stiemsma had en equally quiet and efficient scoring night. 12 points on 6-7 shooting.
- Celtics out-rebounded the Pelicans 49-45.
It definitely would have been nice to see the Celtics get a win before this brutal trip coming up out West. Things might get ugly for a few weeks.