Seeing Damian Lillard hitting a big 3-point shot in the final seconds of the game isn’t something new for anyone following the Portland Trail Blazers this season. However, getting the same kind of clutch ability from Tyreke Evans and the New Orleans Pelicans is a bit more of a rarity.
It still happened. Damian Lillard knocked down one of those wild three point shots he’s known for, tying the game at 108 with 10.9 seconds left. Monty Williams didn’t call a timeout, and the New Orleans Pelicans went out for the final possession without too much of a plan. However, it was just as difficult for Portland, not the best of defensive teams, who were simply going with man to man defense against a talented bunch of individuals.
So Mo Williams was the one who was guarding Tyreke Evans leading the ball on the floor. I’m not sure Terry Stotts would have made that decision himself. Evans was one on one, Williams got no help, and couldn’t stop Evans from burying the shot, giving the Pelicans a 110-108 win.
It was a big game for Evans, scoring 20 points from the bench, but he wasn’t alone. Jrue Holiday had himself what was probably his best game this season, scoring 31 points and dishing out 13 assists. Anthony Davis was another one who enjoyed the bad paint and transition defense from the Blazers, scoring 27 points and adding 12 rebounds in his battle with LaMarcus Aldridge. Al-Farqu Aminu was big on the boards with 15, being smart enough and quick enough with his decisions to create a lot of quick attacks for the Pelicans, leading the easy baskets and a season-high 68 points in the paint against the worst team in the league when it comes to protecting the paint, allowing 46.8 points.
The Blazers weren’t happy with their performance, despite the 108 points, led by LaMarcus Aldridge scoring 28 points or Damian Lillard having another big shooting day with 29.
This was just a game that we couldn’t pull out our best abilities. We just need to learn from this game and use it in a way to win our next one. There are a lot of causes. It’s penetration, it’s not helping out one another, it’s transition.
The Blazers have now lost two in a row, falling to 24-7, third in the Western conference. There’s no real reason to worry, but their are issues with their defensive alignments and reliance on big shooting from crazy situations instead of moving the ball well and looking for the good shot all the time. The law of averages and simple logic declares some shots will stop falling for them at some point if that’s what they’re counting on.
For the Pelicans, it’s pretty much the same. With some much individual talent on this team, sometimes the fundamentals get forgotten. Jrue Holiday isn’t going to be this unstoppable every night, and Tyreke Evans is also questionable coming off the bench. Unless the Pelicans play the right kind of basketball for a few more minutes each night and don’t rely on Holiday or Davis having out-of-this-world performances, they’ll get a little closer to Dallas and that 8th playoff spot.