Not a lot of people are giving the New Orleans Pelicans much of a chance to stay in reach of a playoff spot while Anthony Davis is out injured, but Jrue Holiday with the game-winning basket and Ryan Anderson with the best performance of his career prove that there’s a lot more to this team, leading the way to a 131-128 win over the Chicago Bulls in a triple overtime game.
It came down to Holiday, getting inbound pass as the Bulls defense suddenly collapsed and found itself scattered all over the court, and simply driving to the basket, knee first, scoring on Taj Gibson and getting the foul. In a game filled with big shots in key moments, Mike Dunleavy had the opportunity to tie the game, but he missed, and the Bulls lost for the first time at home this season, wondering about their other two possessions they messed up that could have won them the game.
Holiday wasn’t planned to do what he did on that final play; Monty Williams drew up something completely different. But Holiday was quick enough to realize the opportunity opening for him, and took full advantage of it. The Chicago Bulls have their defense to rely on as they try and go on without Derrick Rose once more, but it failed them on the final possession.
Luol Deng, one of the most mentioned names when it comes to potential trades we might be seeing, had a season-high of 37 points. He spent 56 minutes on the floor, also hitting the shot that put the Bulls in the second overtime, hitting a layup to even the game. He shot 15-of-27 from the field, adding 7 rebounds, 8 assists and 7 turnovers. Right now, with Jimmy Butler also missing and both Tony Snell and Mike Dunleavy (although he did score 23 points) not providing an adequate option for shooting guard, they can’t afford to lose Deng.
Ryan Anderson made some huge plays that wound up bringing him to a career high 36 points. Without Anthony Davis, one of the best stretch 4’s in the NBA found himself playing 57 minutes, and hitting seven three-pointers. He’s not going to bring what Davis does on both ends of the floor, but the Pelicans are a bad defensive team either way, so maybe going to Anderson and Holiday more than before isn’t such a bad thing to do.
I really just wanted the game to be over, to be honest. I felt we had some calls that didn’t go our way, but in the third overtime, we had a chance to finally close it out.