Posts tagged New Orleans Pelicans
What 2 Watch: Tuesday, May 8th

My condolences to the country of Canada. LeBron James destroyed your hopes and dreams last night just as he always does. You can't run from destiny, unless your name is Wong.

While the "BeSt RaPt0rS tEaM eVeR" getting bounced in the second round is bad for Toronto, it's good for you. You don't have to worry about wasting two hours of your night watching those frauds again until October! Best free up your night for more interesting games.


Utah Jazz v. Houston Rockets - Western Conference semifinal, Game 5
8:00pm EST, TNT, TNTdrama.com or TNT app

That State Farm agent is 48 minutes away from his first conference finals! Good for Cliff. One can only be so mediocre for so long. The Jazz try and overcome the Rockets' homecourt advantage to force Game 6, but is it really an advantage when your arena are as rowdy as a Joel Osteen service?


New Orleans Pelicans v. Golden State Warriors - Western Conference semifinal, Game 5
10:30pm EST, TNT, TNTdrama.com or TNT app

Like Mariano says, this is blu-ray footage for the Warriors. Can't wait for Steph to talk about how the Pels really made them buckle down to win this hard-fought five-game series.


Boston Red Sox v. New York Yankees
7:00pm EST, MLB Network, MLB.TV, MLB At Bat app

The rivalry is fucking back baby! The Sox and Yankees have the two best records in baseball, with the Bronx Bombers one game back of the Sox in first. The Yankees have won 15 or their last 16 games, while Boston is on its best start since 2002. Benches cleared the last series between the two. Don't you fucking love baseball when these two are good? Damn.


Swansea City v. Southampton
2:30pm EST, NBCSN, NBC Sports App

The 17th and 18th teams in the Premier League table battle to avoid relegation. The teams may suck, but the threat of the loser dropping out of the EPL next season makes this an intriguing midday matchup across the pond.

The Draymond Green effect has Warriors ahead 2-0 on Pelicans in series
AP

AP

The first two games of the West semifinals between the Warriors and Pelicans have differed vastly in aesthetics and in point differential, but the constant has been Draymond Green. Contrary to Kerr’s typical rotations, Green has started at center, which is especially significant because of Anthony Davis. What’s more is the success he’s had in the matchup, but to everyone’s surprise, Green has been the best player overall in this series.

Kerr’s decision to start Draymond in the first place such a surprise to me. I thought Green at the 5 would be their last card to play (and maybe it was), but clearly they feared Davis dominating and creating a rhythm early in the series. Without Curry in game 1, Green was left to supplant Steph’s duties on offense. He pushed the pace, kept the ball jumping and facilitated every trip down the court.

It was clear that they wanted to outrun the Pelicans and try to tire them out. The Pels showed their aggressiveness on defense against the Portland’s half court prominent offense, but Golden State’s system does not compare. When the Pelican’s defense swings around so quickly, it inevitably gives up an opening that the Dubs can capitalize on.

With the lead ballooning so dramatically in Game 1, the Pelicans we’ve seen for the last 2 months didn’t make an appearance. But in Game 2, the pace was much more in favor of New Orleans. They fed Davis way more in the paint, forcing Golden State to play Draymond 40 minutes (he played 30 minutes in G1). The extended minutes from Green certainly played into NOLA’s hands as well, as he’s the player they could conceivably crack. This is a different Draymond though.

Green’s seen the success he’s contributed to this team, but he’s also seen the way he can become a detriment. This season, he’s been locked in. Balancing the hype with focus is something Green has mastered. It’s also what the Pelicans tried to test him on. Rajon Rondo was being a pest for the whole 48. Body bumping, shit talking, and even wiping his sweat off on the ball in between Green’s attempts. But still Green stayed poised.

What really stood out was Davis’ attempts to poke the bear. After the two hit the floor on a rebound opportunity, which looked like two simultaneous flops, Davis locked Greens arm using his leg, causing the two to barrel down the court in a wrestling style barrel roll. This is something I’ve just never seen out of Davis, and maybe that’s a good thing, a sign he’s trying to establish himself. Maybe it’s his teammates pushing him to get chippy.

Draymond’s emotional self control directly contributes to his teams wins, and his overall game. The stressors that were prevalent the last three years are gone, and it’s made the game much easier too. The Playoffs are all about adjustments, because of the number of times you face a single team. Green is seeing it all with a much clearer mind, and his team is following his lead.

Warriors-Pelicans Western conference semifinal preview

At first glance the seeding of this years playoffs, it seemed as though the Warriors had an easy road to the Finals. They had swept the Pelicans, Blazers, and Spurs in the playoffs before, but with the utter dominance New Orleans displayed against the Blazers, there’s still some concern in Golden State.

Looking back at the first time these teams matched up, the first round in 2015, the Pels put up a pretty good fight. Anthony Davis had his national coming out party. He averaged 30 for the series, and made it look easy over a prime defensive Draymond Green, and a still capable Andrew Bogut.

But the Pelicans came as close to winning game 3 as they possibly could have, if it weren’t for a miraculous three by Steph Curry to send it to overtime where Golden State took control of the game and the series. Since then these teams have changed dramatically.

Some news of Golden State came out of practice Thursday though. Marcus Thompson of The Athletic reported that Kerr put Curry down as “questionable” for Game 1 of the series. We could see this as the payoff of letting Curry rest through the first round, but I’m not falling for that. I think there’s some internal concern about what this Pelicans squad poses to the Warriors without #30.

Anthony Davis has become a truly brilliant NBA player. There’s no doubt that he’s a superstar, the best big man, and arguably the highest ceiling in the years to come (he’s only 25!). Put aside all of his in game accolades though and you’re left with an admirable young man. He’s had to put up with an inordinate amount of organizational incompetency, more than any young Star should have to. It’s a mark of a selfless player to endure that much strife without much more than an interview with Woj.

That aspect of AD is one the reasons his team has seen so much success, being the kind of guy you can rally behind. But his style of play is just as vital to his his teammates success. He commands defenses at all spots on the court, too quick for big men and too strong for guards and wings. That willingness to move the ball is why players like Holiday, Niko Mirotic, and E’Twaun Moore have been getting buckets from three. With an easier scheme they can rely on for offense, it’s allowed the Pelicans the stamina to compete harder on defense.

Against the Warriors though, the defensive game plan they showed against the Blazers might not be as effective. The Dubs just don’t work off the pick and roll as much as Portland, so the aggressive trap the Pels used against the Blazers won’t be as much of a factor. In fact if NOLA does resort to the trap against Steph, GSW is more than prepaid to create out of the 4-on-3 situation it presents. I think that it will still come down to outside shooting for the Dubs though. Davis is so good at protecting the rim that most of the Warriors’ offense should come off inside-out offense, whether that be drive and kicks or triangle actions initiated from the post.

(Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)

(Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)

My concern for GSW isn’t necessarily on offense, it’s how they handle NOLA on the defensive end. If they run a traditional 5 the whole game, Davis can eat the whole game. Nobody other than Draymond really stands a chance, and Kerr’s shown how tentative he is to run Green at the 5. Just look at their 4th quarter minutes game 5, Kevon Looney played almost the whole quarter, and they paid the price by blowing a huge lead. But if they’re willing to give Draymond the most minutes at center, it will certainly save them on defense, but then will also make for a more potent offense.

Though the talent gap is clearly in Golden State’s favor, the Pelicans are going to come out with as much energy as they can muster. Other than Rajon Rondo, they have a bunch of young, energized players who’ll be willing to sell out on defense, even if it means a screwed up rotation. But the Dubs have also had trouble with tight defenses plenty, as it tends to muck up the ball-movement that GSW’s offense predicates on. It’ll also be interesting to see how well Jrue Holiday can play Curry. He’s given him trouble in the past, being 6’4” and all, but Holiday is so calm and physical on defense.

The series may just be the Dubs toughest, if only for the fact that they’ve not seen this Pelicans team. Only in their last matchup in April (with Curry out and an eye on the playoffs, they lost) did they actually see the Pels without Boogie in their lineup. Their first game while most likely be a feeler, but if the Pels can capitalize on the opportunity, they could steal an early one on the road. But regardless this round will most certainly be more interesting than the last.

Prediction: Warriors in six

The 'Brow needs love too
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

I’m disappointed in the lack of coverage there’s been on Anthony Davis this season. Really and truly, I know that he was supposed to be 1 of the 2 new ‘Twin Towers’ accompanied by DeMarcus Cousins, and quite frankly they were in a good place to make a case for being one of those teams to fear when the playoffs came about.

But here’s the thing, and it’s something I hate about the Western Conference but still appreciate – there are so many stars. You could say “what about KAT? What about Lillard? No love for the Nuggets? OKC Big 3?” Listen, all of those whom I’ve mentioned have had significantly more airtime than Anthony Davis that I have noticed. The NBA’s a long season, and yes you have to spread out the storylines that come about, but come on, people, let’s be real here, the Brow has been balling.

He’s having a career year, the Pelicans are in a position they haven’t been in since their names were the Hornets, which is to be a top 4 seed in the West heading into the playoffs (07-08 was the last time it happened), and quite frankly, while Davis is a phenomenal player in his own right, he has endured many bumps and bruises to get the Pelicans, and his game to this point.

It should be appreciated more, kind of like Demar DeRozan in Toronto (I couldn’t resist). I can’t recall off the top of my head which game it was, but I vividly remember the Pelicans winning a game at home and seeing Anthony Davis yell “We’re not losing anymore!”

Bless him for the optimism, but it did indeed look like they were on the rise, despite being swept in the 1st round to the then-NBA Champion Golden State Warriors. Blame injuries for the reason why he couldn’t ascend to his current level of play sooner, or blame the fact that New Orleans as an organization didn’t do a good job in putting talent around him. The point is that, it’s not an irregular story in the NBA, because in sports, as in life, shit happens, and Anthony Davis’ story is no exception.

So what happened to the Chicago kid to spark such a drastic change in his dominance this season? There were so many questions as to how the ball was going to be shared between himself and Boogie Cousins, whom both are capable of going for 40 and 20 on any given night, lets be real. There was a healthy glimpse of what was to come after the Kings traded Boogie to New Orleans, and then talks of ‘Twin Towers’ came to light. The 1st full season of the two together brought excitement and playoff chatter, which would have been the end of what was misery for a good portion of Davis’ duration in New Orleans.

They didn’t disappoint. They were on a significant role, and when you factor in the contributions from Rajon Rondo, I mean, never mind talks of the playoffs, there was a title contention conversation starting up, but the West is loaded, so that was absolutely not happening, and until Houston proves they can beat Golden State four times out of seven in the playoffs, the Warriors still run the West until further notice.

And then came January 26th; DeMarcus Cousins went down with a torn Achilles right before All Star Break, and then everything turned back to Anthony Davis – not that he wasn’t already carrying his own weight for the team, but now they needed him more than ever, and going backwards was not an option.

What this man proceeded to do in the month of February was not only historical, but…actually, I can’t even think of a proper word (or words) to describe what he did. Being the first player in 40 years to average at least 35 points and 10 rebounds in a calendar month doesn’t even make sense. Davis’ numbers were 35 & 13, and the Pelicans won 7 straight games, which started February 10th.

It’s been that kind of run that defines seasons, and Davis has also thrown his name into the MVP race, and rightfully so. Many people have James Harden as the shoe-in, but there are no guarantees in life. I mean, I think he’s still going to win because the Rockets are more than likely to capture the 1-seed in the West and probably overall.

Either way, Davis is doing a great deal leading his team to the next level – a level in which he’d like to stay for a long time. Adversity is one thing that Davis has had to deal with for his career, and that won’t change, but it’s the matter of gaining significant traction in order to get his team to a place where they can compete at a high level consistently, which is the ultimate goal. It would appear that he’s on that mission, come hell or high water, and we should revel in the production of greatness that’s coming with it.

That’s My Word & It STiXX