Pelicans Overcome Huge Deficit, Top Nets In Overtime
The New Orleans Pelicans (30-40) franchise used to play in the Eastern Conference. It's too bad they don't anymore, as they're 19-11 versus the Eastern Conference this season. Two days after defeating the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat, the Pelicans knocked off one of the league's hottest teams in the Brooklyn Nets.
The young Pelicans were down by 22 points early in the second half. Undeterred, they chipped away, eventually forcing overtime and defeating the Brooklyn Nets 109-104.
Many young NBA teams that are far out of the playoff hunt will "cash it in" in the final stretch of the season, electing to accept losing, while trying to improve individual stats in the hope that it will benefit their future contract.
Others simply refer to the practice of not competing to win a game as "tanking". There is no tanking in the Pelicans. Despite numerous injured players out of their lineup (Jrue Holiday, Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, Jason Smith), New Orleans has played their best basketball as of late, winning their 3rd straight game Monday, beating a quality opponent in the trash-talking Nets.
“We were down (big) and there was a lot of jawing and talking. For me, I’m not about talking trash, I’m about being effective," said Pelicans coach Monty Williams. "I just know we don’t give in…we just play to the end.”
Brooklyn was trash talking non stop, hoping to get New Orleans out of their game. It only seemed to ignite the young Pelicans, as they surged to an impressive second half, outscoring Brooklyn by 16 in the second half to force OT. It was the largest comeback of the season, and the second-largest in franchise history.
Tyreke Evans (pictured) played at an elite level, scoring 33 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, and dishing 7 assists.
“Tyreke has the ability to play at a high level every single night," said Williams. "He has abilities that not a lot of people have.”
Anthony Davis put up a double-double as well, going for 24 points and 14 rebounds.
With only 12 games left in the season, New Orleans will look to bring this new found momentum into the offseason. Fresh rotations, coupled with the improved play of Evans and the elite play of Davis, and Pelican fans have plenty to look forward to in the future.
The Pelicans will stay at home Wednesday for a matchup with Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers (49-21). Tip-off is set for 7:00.