It helps when you have one of the best NBA backcourts money can
Guard Eric Gordon scored 17 of his game-high 25 points in the second
half and backcourt mate Jrue Holiday added 20 points and 12 assists — with no turnovers in 37 minutes — to lift the Pelicans to a
104-98 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
"Holiday and Gordon are two really good guards," Memphis coach David
Joerger said, smiling. "Between them, they make $25 million a year,
so you know they're good."
New Orleans coach Monty Williams said, "That's the Eric that I know
can be an All-Star. And when he gets his mind right to playing
defense, he's pretty good at that, too."
Gordon, who made 10 of 12 shots from the field, and Holiday took
control after the Pelicans saw their 19-point lead in the fourth
quarter shrink to 94-88 with 4:53 left on a 3-pointer by forward
Gordon and Holiday combined for eight of the Pelicans' final 10
points as New Orleans (11-10) won its second consecutive home game
before embarking on a five-game road trip.
Gordon played only 14 minutes in the first half despite making 3 of
4 shots from the field. He came out of the locker room with a
scorer's mind-set in the second half.
"You've just got to step up and take the lead and take charge of the
scoring," Gordon said. "We don't have AD (Anthony Davis) right now
and Tyreke is probably going to be out — who knows when he's going
to be back? I'm up to the task and trying to lead the team in
"That's what we're going to need at this point. No matter how good
we play defense and rebound, we've definitely got to score some
Holiday had a marvelously efficient game. The 20 points and 12
assists were gaudy enough, but Holiday might have been happiest by
not committing a turnover. The Pelicans had just six the entire
"That's a good feeling," Holiday said. "I can go home and sleep
tonight. I just think I made good decisions this game. I watched
film yesterday and I had a couple of careless ones, and that's
annoying and nagging. With a smart point guard like they have (Mike
Conley), you can't turn the ball over."
The Pelicans used a 27-11 third quarter — holding the Grizzlies
without a field goal in the last 6:05 of the quarter — to open an
82-65 lead. Memphis, which began the game by making 14 of 18 shots
from the field, missed 16 of 20 shots in the third as the Pelicans
logged their best defensive quarter of the season in holding Memphis
to 11 points.
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"In the second half, offensively, we decided to play
one-on-one," Joerger said. "We over-dribbled and tried to create
our own shots. We didn't cut and we didn't screen. They became
the aggressors, and away they went."
Holiday and Gordon were the keys.
"They get a lot of space because of Ryan Anderson," Conley said.
"When you go out to defend the 3, it leaves big lanes for their
guards. Even without Anderson, they do a great job of
Trailing 91-73, the Grizzlies used a 15-3 run during an 8:07
stretch of the fourth quarter to cut the New Orleans lead to
94-88 with 4:53 left, but they couldn't get any closer.
Evans aggravated a left ankle injury at the end of the half when
he landed awkwardly on a layup attempt. He stayed in to make
both free throws, giving the Pelicans a one-point lead at
halftime, but did not return. He was limping badly in the locker
The Grizzlies (10-12) were led by forward Jon Leuer with 19
points and Conley with 18. Forward Zach Randolph started strong
for Memphis with eight first-half points but got into foul
trouble early in the second half and finished with 13.
NOTES: With SF Darius Miller fully recovered from a stress
fracture in his foot, the Pelicans released SF Josh Childress,
who signed on Nov. 12. Childress, a seven-year veteran, played
in just four games and failed to score. ... The Pelicans are
carrying only 14 players and have targeted a position to fill,
but coach Monty Williams isn't tipping his hand. ... PF Anthony
Davis is ramping up his practice routine while he recovers from
a fractured left finger suffered Dec. 1, but Williams said he
will be very careful about bringing the second-year player back.
"He's chomping at the bit to get back," Williams said. "I want
him as bad or more than anybody, but not at the expense of
putting him in harm's way. He's amped up his workouts. He tries
to do it behind my back. I won't give him the OK until we get
that from the medical staff." ... The injury-ravaged Grizzlies
got some relief on Friday night. G Tony Allen, who missed four
consecutive games with a right hip contusion, returned to the
lineup, as did F Ed Davis, who was sidelined for three games
with a sprained left ankle.
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