Pelicans.com postgame: Pelicans 112, Bucks 104 (3/7/14)
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
As one of the New Orleans Pelicans’ backcourt reserves, Anthony Morrow doesn’t always log major minutes, with his playing time sometimes greatly affected by how well the starting guards are faring. Although Morrow’s nightly role isn’t a given, the Pelicans know that whenever the six-year veteran is called upon, there’s a good chance he’ll deliver timely offense.
The 28-year-old again produced when the Pelicans needed it most Friday against the Milwaukee Bucks, scoring 12 critical points in the fourth quarter. Morrow had tallied just four points through three quarters, but drained a pair of three-pointers along with three other baskets in the stanza. Morrow’s pivotal play helped turned a nail-biter into a relatively comfortable victory for the Pelicans (25-37), their second consecutive win.
Morrow bounced back from some rare foul trouble to lead New Orleans down the stretch. After a back-and-forth first three quarters, the Pelicans had just a 78-77 lead, but outscored the Bucks 34-27 in the fourth quarter.
“I haven’t had many games where I’ve been in foul trouble, but I’ve had games where I haven’t played much, but had to come in and be a spark,” he said. “It’s about knowing how to be effective in any situation.”
New Orleans starters Anthony Davis and Tyreke Evans also made prominent contributions in the fourth period, combining to score 13 points. Davis was tough to stop Friday, finishing with 29 points and 14 rebounds. Evans continued his excellence in a starting role, posting 25 points and seven assists. He was 10-for-10 from the foul line.
"I think he's more locked in now than he's ever been in his career," Morrow said of Evans. "Being out there with me as well, stretching the floor and making plays, he's not just a scorer. He can rebound, he can pass. He's a triple-threat right now and I think he can be an All-Star one day."
In their first game back in the Smoothie King Center following a five-game Western Conference road trip, the Pelicans were tested by the Bucks (12-49) for nearly all 48 minutes. Seeking its sixth road win of the season, Milwaukee led 25-22 after a quarter and was within 51-49 at halftime. Unheralded players Khris Middleton (25 points) and Jeff Adrien (20 points) did much of the damage for the Bucks, with the latter eclipsing his career high in scoring by six points.
Milwaukee took its latest lead of the game at 79-78 early in the fourth quarter, before Morrow got hot, scoring 12 points in a stretch of just 5:33. His mid-range jumper with 4:10 remaining gave New Orleans a 102-92 lead. The Bucks couldn’t cut their deficit to less than five, with the Pelicans sealing the victory by going 8-for-8 from the foul line in the final 2:18. New Orleans also helped its cause greatly by only committing two turnovers in the second half.
“We just had to get back in transition and limit our turnovers," Davis said of the second-half improvement by his team. "That's what we did in the second half. We tried to attack the basket and stop settling for jump shots."
“That’s a big game any time you come off of a long road trip,” Pelicans Coach Monty Williams said of winning the first of a six-game homestand. “That first game back is where you have sluggish play and lack of execution. We had some contributions from guys that really helped us. Anthony Morrow was really good. It’s a big win for us. Any win is a big win for us.”