Pelicans (4-0), Nets (2-3)
Despite trailing by five points in the final minute, despite watching Brooklyn nearly run out the waning seconds of regulation – prior to a disastrous Nets turnover – New Orleans remained undefeated. Jrue Holiday sank the go-ahead jumper to give the Pelicans a one-point lead and punctuate an improbable late comeback, after the hosts had trailed for the vast majority of Friday’s interconference matchup.
New Orleans was down 115-114 with Brooklyn holding possession and the shot clock expired, but after playing keepaway and running time off the clock, the Nets threw a pass into the first row of the stands with 7 seconds left. With no timeout, the Pelicans inbounded to Holiday from deep in their own backcourt; he dribbled quickly up the floor and created an open jumper for himself that put New Orleans in front with 2 ticks to go.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Up 117-115, Anthony Davis deflected away a Brooklyn inbound pass with 2 seconds remaining, allowing New Orleans to grab the ball and run out the time. As the buzzer sounded, Davis yelled toward the Smoothie King Center crowd, which roared its approval after a stunning turn of events. Holiday had pushed the Pelicans’ lead from one to two by hitting a free throw off a Nets technical foul, the fallout from an incident near Brooklyn’s bench, in which Nets big Ed Davis pushed Pelicans forward Solomon Hill.
PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Davis didn’t shoot well or generate his usual offensive production (6/19 from the field, 18 points), but he did a lot in a bunch of other areas. The five-time All-Star approached a rare five-by-five stat line by notching 14 rebounds, three assists, four steals and five blocks – it seemed like more than five rejections, as the Nets constantly looked over their shoulder for Davis in the second half. At least when they weren't standing beyond the three-point arc and launching a barrage of attempts from long distance (19/40).
POSITIONAL FOCUS: BENCH
Entering a stretch of five games in only seven days, Alvin Gentry vowed to use his reserves in greater doses. He did that to an extent vs. Brooklyn, but still couldn’t avoid leaning on key players for minutes in the high 30s (Davis and Holiday both logged 38). On Friday, Julius Randle supplied his usual large production (14 points, seven rebounds) in a relatively light amount of minutes (23:16), spearheading the second unit once again. Combo guard Ian Clark – whom the Pelicans want to use at shooting guard more often than point guard – stepped forward with nine points in 18 minutes, after Clark had only played four minutes Tuesday vs. the Clippers.
Hill was the only other second-unit player on the court in a significant spell, playing 25 minutes and being relied on for defense in key spots. Darius Miller was limited to a season-low four minutes, the result of a quad injury that sidelined him; the Pelicans will know more about the injury Saturday. Rounding out the five subs who entered Friday’s game was Wesley Johnson, who made his New Orleans debut, notching three points and two steals in 8:36.
BY THE NUMBERS
11: New Orleans blocks. In addition to Anthony Davis’ five swats, five other Pelicans came up with at least one rejection.
11: Pelicans turnovers. There were countless aspects of Friday’s game to discuss, but one underrated factor in the New Orleans win may have been its low turnover count. Conversely, Brooklyn coughed up 21 turnovers, including one of the worst ones you’ll ever see an NBA team commit.
54-46: Brooklyn rebounding advantage, paced by Ed Davis pulling down 11 boards in only 20 minutes.