Pelicans.com postgame: Pelicans 105, Bobcats 84
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
After a frustrating Friday loss in which New Orleans allowed Orlando to scorch the nets during the Magic’s home opener, the Pelicans badly wanted to compile a better defensive performance Saturday. One way to make sure that would happen? Don’t let the opponents’ shots even get to the rim.
Behind an all-around dominant outing by Anthony Davis (25 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 6 blocks, 6 steals) and intimidation in the paint by Jason Smith (5 blocks) and Greg Stiemsma (5 blocks), New Orleans established a single-game franchise record by blocking 18 Charlotte shots. The Bobcats didn’t shoot poorly when they actually got the ball up to the hoop (30-for-62), but finished just 30 of 80 from the field after factoring in all of the rejections.
“Any time you have a tough road loss like (Friday in Orlando), you want to establish your presence at home, and do what we do well,” Stiemsma said of bouncing back with an blowout win. “Get back to our principles, and that’s what we did tonight.”
“I think we were doing a good job of talking (on defense),” Davis said of the team's excellent help and weakside defense. “When we talk and communicate, we’re a tough team to beat. We’re a defense-first team. We can’t trade baskets with anyone – we’re not good enough. We’ve got to lock down defensively.”
New Orleans (1-2) commenced its first victory of 2013-14 by limiting Charlotte (1-2) to just 15 points in the first quarter. By halftime, the Pelicans’ lead was 56-41 and Smith had already equaled his career high with five blocks. Davis and Stiemsma combined to swat seven shots in the second half, helping New Orleans hold Charlotte to its 37.2 percent rate from the field Saturday. Davis' six blocks were also a personal best as a pro.
“They’re an aggressive team; they try to get to the basket a lot,” Stiemsma said of the Bobcats. “There were opportunities there, and we were able to take advantage of it.”
The Pelicans also enjoyed their best offensive game of the young season, shooting 49.3 percent from the field and reaching the century mark in points for the first time. One of the biggest cheers of Saturday occurred in the fourth quarter when a Brian Roberts three-pointer put New Orleans over 100 points, ensuring free McDonald's French fries for the 15,232 fans in attendance.
Had the game been closer in the fourth quarter, Davis may have been on the floor long enough to also register a career high in scoring. His 25 points were just three points shy of the 28 he tallied at Milwaukee last November.
After struggling to locate his shooting touch in the first two games, Tyreke Evans finished second on the Pelicans in points with 15. The swingman scored nearly all of his six baskets on drives to the rim, his forte throughout his five-year NBA career. Jrue Holiday (14 points, 8 assists) and Roberts (13 points, including 11 in fourth quarter) made it four New Orleans players in double-digit scoring.
One night after getting outhustled by an Orlando team that brought significant energy to the floor, New Orleans held the upper hand in aggression vs. Charlotte, which was also playing the second game of a back-to-back set.
“I know that we can play with that kind of energy,” Monty Williams said. “We have raised the bar in practice and need to keep working because we’re not good enough to just walk out there and think we’re going to win games.”