PLAYOFFS! Pelicans Clinch Postseason Spot, Beat Spurs


New Orleans is back in the postseason!

Apr 15, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; The Pelicans mascot Pierre the Pelicans makes a angel in streamers following a win against the San Antonio Spurs in a game at the Smoothie King Center. The Pelicans defeated the Spurs 108-103 to earn the 8th seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Before I get into the specifics of the game, I need to compliment the ENTIRE team on their extraordinary mindset throughout the season: players coaches and management.

They shook off the media who said they did not have a chance. They won games they were not supposed to. And sure, there were a few bumps along the road but that is the NBA: you just have to get up and get the next one.

So congratulations Pelicans! You all earned this opportunity and are one step closer to the championship dream.

Now, to the game that made it all happen.

The Pelicans (45-37) came out of the gates as hot as you can be. Anchored by the slicing and dicing of both Tyreke Evans and Norris Cole (19 and 13 points respectively), New Orleans inflated their lead to as much as 23 points in the first half.

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But, anyone who watches basketball knew that a Spurs run was inevitable so the game was far from over.

The fast paced first quarter resulted in 4 quick turnovers, 3 at the expense of Anthony Davis. But the Pelicans made up for this by only committing 5 more for the remainder of the game. And Davis more than compensated for his early mistakes.

Despite their decent record with him off the floor this season, the Pelicans live and die with their guy: Anthony Davis. He led all scorers with 31 points, garnered 13 rebounds and blocked 3 shots, two of which game in the final 90 seconds of the game to help put it away.

Apr 15, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) dunks the ball over San Antonio Spurs forward Marco Belinelli (3) during the first quarter at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Sure he missed some easy throughout the contest, but he stepped up when it mattered and that is all that really counts.

Davis will most likely not win MVP thanks to the phenomenal shows put on by Stephen Curry and James Harder, but that is perfectly ok.

If this team has shown the fans anything, it’s that they do not care what the media says. They are just going to do their thing.

And when Anthony Davis does his thing, the Pelicans ALWAYS have a chance to win.

Davis could not have done this alone though. I mentioned Tyreke Evans’ point total before, but he really put the pedal to the medal tonight.

He dished out 11 assists without a single turnover! Throw in conversions on contested layups from the Spurs big men, and it becomes hard to argue with anything the man did tonight.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Spurs had chopped the Pelicans lead to single digits and came as close as 3 points.

However, clutch free throws from Eric Gordon and AD helped to seal the deal.

Omer Asik had less luck with his free throws after falling victim to the “hack-a” strategy for a chain of possessions (for those who do not know, this is when a player who shoots poorly at the free throw line is immediately fouled and sent to the free throw line).

This offensive shortcoming, per the norm, was more than made up for on the defensive end.

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Asik stood resolute under the basket tonight, whether it was deflecting passes, altering shots or boxing out Tim Duncan, one of the best rebounders in league history.

The Spurs only had four offensive rebounds the whole game! Asik’s performance tonight was nothing short of spectacular.

Apr 15, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans center Omer Asik (3) dunks the ball past San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (14) during the first quarter at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Gordon knocked down 5-12 shots for a big 14 points. His 2 threes came at times where the offense had begin to slow too, so without those makes who knows what direction the game could have gone in.

Tyreke and Gordon have led the way for the Pelicans backcourt for most of the season, but the true leader of the Pelicans guards made his impact felt tonight.

Jrue Holiday, only a few games back from his injury, made a huge impact for his team today on both ends of the floor. He led the team with a +12, scored 11 points on 9 shots and totaled 4 assists without a turnover.

More importantly he was able to cool a red hot Tony Parker, who was at one point 9-11 from the floor. Jrue played 10 minutes above his recent minutes restriction of 15, and made every one of those 25 count.

With this team finally back to full strength, who knows what they can accomplish. They were counted out from the second the season started. National and local media voiced their displeasure with the team and Monty Williams. But the Pelicans put this all behind them and got the job done on Wednesday night.

What seemed like a dream has become a reality.

The Warriors are a historically great team, and are expected to play in the NBA Finals.

But as they have shown all season long, the Pelicans will not let that get in their heads. They might just shock the world.

But for now: GO PELICANS!!!!!!

Next: Is There A Ray of Light for the Saints on Draft Night?