The New Orleans Pelicans claimed their first road win in the year 2014 by beating the Boston Celtics 95-92. Pelicans had great bench scoring and Greg Stiemsma hopefully showed us signs of what he can do in the future.
It was a great win for this Pelican team as they have struggled on the road lately, losing six of their last seven road games. Watching the Pelicans play on the road is like watching someone give a speech with no confidence. They just look nervous out on the court, but winning on the road isn’t easy in the NBA. This game was a tight ball game through the whole night. The biggest lead the Pelicans had was only 8 points. The score was tied 9 times and had 14 lead changes.
Anthony Davis lead all Pelican scorers with 23 points, he also chipped in 7 rebounds, but the shot block leader of the NBA came away with 0 blocks on the night. Alexis Ajinca had only played in six games before tonight,but he had the opportunity to start for the first time this season. Eric Gordon had 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists on the night. Jrue Holiday struggled from the field shooting only 18% on 2-11 shooting and he didn’t even attempt a free throw. The key to the Pelicans win tonight was the bench scoring. Greg Stiemsma, Brian Roberts, Tyreke Evans, and Ryan Anderson all reached double figures for scoring.
Although the Pelicans had great bench scoring, second chance points almost lost them this game. The Celtics (13-20) had a total of 28-second chance points and the Pelicans (15-16) only had 11-second chance points. The biggest surprise stat for the night was Stiemsma scoring 12 points. For his career he only averages 3.4 points per game. If Stiemsma can continue this strong play for the rest of the season the Pelicans will have a very good chance at making the playoffs. Also, the Pelicans have been missing out on another big man who can score in double figures regularly.
The Pelicans went into halftime with the lead, 49-43. As they came out of the locker room they knew that the Celtics were going to come out ready to play in the second half. Eric Gordon had a great 8 point third quarter, but Avery Bradley for the Celtics one-upped Gordon with a 12 point third quarter.
Going into the fourth quarter the Pelicans still had a one-point lead, 73-72. Scary moment for the Pelicans happened in the fourth quarter with 11:02 left in the game. The Celtics were pressing the Pelicans; ball was inbounded, and in came a flying Gerald Wallace of the Celtics. Wallace came running right into the left shoulder of Ryan Anderson. The two of them sat on the court for a couple of minutes, but as Wallace walked to his bench Anderson did not. After a few minutes, the medical staff brought the stretcher onto the court. Anderson was taking off on the stretcher, but he gave the TD Garden crowd thumbs up. Multiple reports have stated that Anderson has a “cervical stinger”.
The game was only delayed 10 minutes for Anderson’s injury, but the Pelicans rallied and won this game for their teammate. Hopefully Anderson won’t be out for to long. In this game he finished with 13 points, 7 rebounds, and was a big part to the Pelicans bench scoring.
Anthony Davis sealed the win with a beautiful left handed lay in from about five feet. The last shot of the game was Jared Sullinger’s three-point attempt, which was missed and the final buzzer came to the ears of the everyone at the game. Pelicans are now 1-1 on the new year.
The Pelicans will step back onto the court tomorrow at 6 p.m. and take on the Eastern Conference leaders, Indiana Pacers. The Pacers are lead by Paul George who averages 23.5 points per game. The matchup to watch will be Anthony Davis guarding Roy Hibbert. Two more games on the road for the Pelicans and then they get to play back home on January 8th against the Washington Wizards.