Anthony Morrow delivers in crunch time at Detroit
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
In a 2013-14 season filled with bad breaks, perhaps it should come as no surprise that the New Orleans Pelicans have also been bitten by the flu bug this week, forcing two players to miss games due to illnesses. For reserve Anthony Morrow, being sick extended a recent stretch in which he did not play to three consecutive games. Once Morrow was able to get out of bed and back on the hardwood Friday at Detroit, however, the shooting guard produced immediate results.
During a span of just 3:28 of the fourth quarter against the Pistons, the six-year NBA veteran drained three straight three-pointers, his specialty. Ranked fourth among all active NBA players in career three-point percentage (42.7), Morrow managed to rack up 13 points in the final period of the 103-101 victory, equal to his point total in all games since Jan. 7. Overall, he scored 21 points at Detroit in 25 minutes, a much-needed performance for the undermanned Pelicans (17-25).
“Just the opportunity,” Morrow said when asked to explain his breakout quarter and game. “I didn’t do anything different in terms of my preparation. Just the opportunity came up. I can’t control how many minutes I play. I just have to be ready for whatever situation happens. Obviously we’ve got guys down. I’m just proud of my team, thankful they were finding me and glad I could contribute to a win.”
“You need someone to step up on the road, especially when you’re playing against a pretty good team in my opinion, that’s probably going to go to the playoffs, that we had trouble with at home,” said Pelicans Coach Monty Williams, whose team outlasted the Pistons in overtime Dec. 11. “For him to be able to not just knock down shots, but (also) I thought he was decent on defense. His weakside communication and helps were pretty good last night.”
Playing again without four of the team’s six leading scorers – including Tyreke Evans, the other Pelican recently affected by illness, currently listed as day-to-day – New Orleans is relying heavily on players without much experience in the league. Rookie Jeff Withey and second-year pros Brian Roberts, Darius Miller and Austin Rivers all were on the floor at key moments during a tight fourth quarter in Michigan.
“We don’t have a lot of equity in terms of accolades or playoff appearances,” Morrow described of the team’s current available group of just 10 players. “We’re pretty much a newly-assembled team. We’ve got some guys playing the most minutes they’ve played since probably college. When the other guys get back, like Jrue (Holiday) and Tyreke, that’s only going to help us as a team.”