Pelicans Drop Game 3 to Warriors In Historic Fashion


NBA legends hold entire cities on their shoulders.

For every great NBA player and coaches there must be moment when they realize just how heavy that weight is. Every NBA legend retires with a series of memories.

Moments when they held that weight above their head proudly, and moments when they fell under the pressure it inflicted upon them.

The moments of success are common, great players breed great moments on a daily basis.

The moments of failure are different.

The moments of failure don’t feel like experiences or memories, they feel like a sickness. Those moments create cuts in the player’s body that bleed, bother and motivate them their entire careers.

The Media likes to label players as either “clutch” or being a “choker” and leave the discussion at that. This habit discourages a discussion on what leads to true NBA history being made.

Greg Popovich is one of the greatest coaches of all time, he has won 50+ games for over a decade and yielded five championships in the process.

Feb 12, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich reacts on the sideline during the third quarter against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. The San Antonio Spurs won 104-92. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

He doesn’t remember the blowouts and the celebrations, he remembers game 6. He remembers taking Tim Duncan out in the final seconds of a championship game, and letting a title slip away from him.

Here’s what he says he remembers in a SI piece by Ben Golliver.

“I think about Game 6 every day,” Popovich said. “Without exception. I think about every play. I can see LeBron’s first shot, and the rebound, and the second …” Then he paused and said, “I’ve been quite lugubrious.” Lugubrious? (asked the interviewer) “As sad as you can possibly be.”

Is Greg Popovich not clutch? is he a choker?

He is neither, he’s a human.

Anthony Davis is a human too, and tonight he did something that he will never forget. Tonight was the first New Orleans home game since the Chris Paul era, and his shoulders caved in the moment when it mattered most.

Tonights loss was one of just three times in HISTORY that a team has come back from a 20 point deficit in the 4th quarter of a playoff game.

Anthony Davis watched his team give up a 20 point 4th quarter lead after an amazing first three quarters, and he had an opportunity to win the game single-handedly.

The score was 105-107, there was only a few seconds left, and the Pelicans had possession and the lead. Davis got the ball and was fouled, he stood at the line drenched in sweat.

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The Smoothie King Center was filled with thousands of passionate fans who just watched their team lose a historic lead, and now their eyes are on Davis, they trust him, and they expect him to secure the win.

Anthony Davis understands the gravity of the situation, he has shot 80% from the line this season and led this team to the postseason. He gets ready to shoot.

Anthony Davis missed.

Every fan in the arena was suspended in silence. Davis smiled, he tried to mask himself with security. He was almost shaking, he hit the second free throw, but he knew what he had done.

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Davis had given the Warriors a three-point deficit AND the final possession of a game.

Steph Curry received the ball, as everyone in the area predicted. He missed his first shot and Marreese Speights collected the offensive rebound.

The following 2 seconds made NBA history.

The Pelicans should have fouled Speights, immediately, and secured at least a 1 point lead. Instead they let Speights find Curry in the corner, who sunk a three and sent the game to overtime.

Apr 23, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrates after a three point basket forced the game into overtime in game three of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at the Smoothie King Center. The Warriors defeated the Pelicans 123-119 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

In overtime the Pelicans played a respectable game, they largely traded buckets with the Warriors until the final minutes. Ryan Anderson who had been hot the entire game, and seemed to have finally left his season long slump, delivered on a vital three pointer which gave the Pelicans a shot at closing the lead.

The final play the Pelicans ran was an isolation for Anthony Davis.

Anthony Davis who has been crowned a future NBA Hall of Famer, Anthony Davis who has led this Pelicans team to their first playoff series in four years, Anthony Davis who is loved and cherished by every New Orleans basketball fan, and Anthony Davis who just cost them the most embarrassing loss in NBA playoff history.

Davis ran straight into Andrew Bogut and forced a shot which didn’t even make contact with the rim.

Davis, his teammates, his coaches, and the thousands of devoted Pelicans who were still in their seats felt personally victimized.

Their first “Pelicans” playoff win in history was just stolen from them, not taken, stolen.

Davis let the Warriors steal it, he was powerless to keep it safe. Davis was like a weak parent unable to protect a child from a monster, he let the an entire city to face a historical level of embarrassment.

Tonight will have a greater impact on Anthony Davis’ career then anything anyone has ever said or done to him.

Apr 23, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) reacts as he shoots over Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut (12) in overtime in game three of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at the Smoothie King Center. The Warriors defeated the Pelicans 123-119 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight will affect him the same way Game 6 affects Greg Popovich. Tonight will keep him awake when he tries to fall asleep, tonight will push him farther than his body is willing to let him go, tonight will torture and abuse him, and tonight will eventually make him an NBA legend.

Every time he practices his free throws in the gym he will see the rows of screaming Pelicans fans dressed in red and blue. He will see his city, his teammates, and he will see himself.

Did the Pelicans lose?

Yes they did. The Pelicans lost a game to one of the greatest teams in history in a series they are absolutely supposed to lose. To say tonight was just that, an embarrassing loss and nothing more is perfectly fine.

To us, the fans, it might just be that, but to our superstar its infinitely more meaningful.

Don’t measure Davis by his failure tonight, measure him by how he responds. Greg Popovich made a decision to sit Tim Duncan, which allowed Chris Bosh to secure a rebound, which allowed Ray Allen to steal a championship from a team who had spent over a decade perfecting how to earn them.

Then Greg Popovich pushed forward, he came back the next season with a team even BETTER then the one he had before, and he won an NBA championship.

Five years from now Davis will be a monster, a motivated monster, someone who has learned to lock his knees and hold his core when a city rests on his shoulders.

He will master the weight and control it, because he will remember the time when it overcame him, and he was crushed beneath it.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and Pelicans don’t die easy……

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