Pelicans.com postgame: Warriors 102, Pelicans 101
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
With both the New Orleans Pelicans and Eric Gordon at exactly 50 percent from the three-point line up to the pivotal moment of Tuesday’s game, the outcome came down to what was essentially a coin flip. If Gordon’s shot goes in, the Pelicans post an impressive win. If not, the short-handed Warriors escape with a road victory.
Unfortunately for New Orleans (6-8), Gordon’s three-point attempt seemed to touch every part of the rim, before falling off. Golden State (9-6) grabbed the rebound and dribbled out the final seconds, securing a hard-fought Western Conference win.
“It hurts,” said Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday, who delivered a crosscourt pass to an unguarded Gordon. “But at the end of the day, we got the shot we wanted. A wide-open shot, that went in and out.”
Coincidentally, New Orleans won its most recent home game, on Friday vs. Cleveland, on a nearly identical play. Gordon drilled a three-pointer from virtually the same spot for the go-ahead points in a narrow victory against the Cavaliers.
“It just didn’t fall this time,” Gordon said. “We ran the same play (as) when I knocked down the shot. I thought it was going to go in, but it just rolled out. I was disappointed.”
Much like the Friday win over Cleveland, New Orleans trailed on its home floor for the majority of the game vs. Golden State. The Warriors led 57-49 at halftime and were up by as many as 15 points before the Pelicans mounted a rally. The Pelicans put together a 28-19 third quarter to pull within a point, but the Warriors regained the lead for most of the fourth quarter. With only 10 players available, short-handed Golden State was up 102-99 before an Anthony Davis putback dunk at 0:47. After a defensive stop, the Pelicans advanced the ball into the frontcourt without calling timeout, setting up the final sequence.
Holiday dribbled along the baseline and spotted Gordon, who was left alone when Golden State’s Stephen Curry reacted to Holiday’s penetration. Curry was too late to get to Gordon before the shooting guard released his shot. The miss put Gordon at 2-for-5 from three-point range and the Pelicans at 9-for-19.
“Eric was wide open in the corner, kind of like the game before,” Holiday said. “For a moment there, I thought it was déjà vu. But it went in and came out.”
Twenty-four hours after a discouraging 19-point loss in San Antonio, New Orleans responded with a much better performance in the second game of an unenviable Western Conference back-to-back set. Ryan Anderson continued his excellent play since returning from injury, this time notching 21 points and 12 rebounds. Five other Pelicans reached double figures in scoring in a balanced effort, including a double-double by Davis (14 points, 11 rebounds).
“That hurt us,” Holiday said of the team’s one-sided loss to the Spurs. “I don’t think anyone on this team wanted to have a game like that. Obviously, it was a road game, and (the opponent) was the Spurs, but we wanted to come here and protect our house.”