When a favorite team or player in any sport is struggling to find success (like the New Orleans Pelicans), it is sometimes hard to find the motivation to watch another game. Sure, having to deal with loss after loss is tough on the players, but it is no walk in the park for fans either.
Pelicans fans have been no exception throughout this disappointing and mostly miserable 2015-16 season.
Once a 21-33 record is attained, there is not much any team could do to turn things around and make watching each of the remaining games worthwhile. Fortunately for the Pelicans, they do have one such solution:
Feb 21, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) reacts after making a three point shot during the fourth quarter of the game. Davis scored 59 point at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The Pelicans defeated the Pistons 111-106. Mandatory Credit: Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports
Nobody in Detroit could have expected what happened this afternoon when the Pelicans clashed with the Pistons, nor could the fans watching from home.
But they surely will not forget what they saw anytime soon.
Anthony Davis scored a career high, a 2015-16 NBA season high and a franchise high 59 points and grabbed 20 rebounds in one of the most dominating individual performances in recent memory, leading the Pels to a 111-106 victory in the process.
For one game, the team’s record was irrelevant. The injury report didn’t matter. It was all about watching Anthony Davis.
Feb 21, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) shoots over Detroit Pistons center Aron Baynes (12) during the second quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports
The Pelican’s superstar just would not miss from anywhere on the floor. He hit 24-34 field goals, including 2 three pointers, and added 9 free throws to his record breaking tally.
No matter who or what Detroit threw at him, he had an answer. Andre Drummond, Marcus Morris, and Tobias Harris all had their share of fun on the defensive end tonight, but none of them found any semblance of success.
Only two players in NBA history reached that 50 points, 20 rebounds line before today: Chris Webber and Shaquille O’Neal.
If the raw stats were not impressive, every single one of those shot attempts mattered in what still turned out to be a very tight game. Despite Davis catching fire for 19 points in the fourth quarter, the Pistons kept pace with equally hot shooting from three point range to keep them in it.
Reggie Jackson was electric, scoring 34 points on only 20 shots, and knocked down some late three pointers to keep the game within two possessions. Detroit dropped 36 points from behind the arc on 36% shooting, a total that under normal circumstances would have likely been enough to earn a win.
While Davis deserves more than his fair share of the credit for securing the win, he could not have done it without Jrue Holiday manning the point. The only other Pelican in double digits, Holiday scored 20 points, corralled 7 rebounds and dished out 9 assists, most of which to the hands of AD.
Joel Meyers and David Wesley from the announcer’s table have harped all season that no matter how many points a Pelican puts up, someone else needs to step up and produce as the number two option.
Feb 21, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) celebrates with teammate guard Jrue Holiday (11) after making a three point shot during the fourth quarter. Davis scored 59 point at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The Pelicans defeated the Pistons 111-106. Mandatory Credit: Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports
Once again, Jrue was the right man for the job, knocking down clutch shots down the stretch and finding looks elsewhere in the rare sequences where Davis couldn’t find a shot.
The Holiday-Davis combination is truly a force to be reckoned with, and one that could strike fear into the rest of the league for years to come.
With the NASCAR fans watching the Daytona 500 and the Cavaliers-Thunder match-up dominating most of the NBA faithful, today’s matinee in The Palace was nothing more than an afterthought for a majority of the nation.
But all of the fans who tuned into the Pelicans despite their struggles this season were given a historic gift from Anthony Davis that will not be forgotten anytime soon.
Davis may not make history every night, but the 22 year old will be giving Pelicans fans plenty of reasons to tune in every night for years to come.
Davis and the Pelicans will look to put on a show when the entire country is watching this Tuesday night against the Washington Wizards (6 p.m. CST, NBATV)……