The New Orleans Pelicans started the season 0-8, and the reason for the slow start was the lack of scoring, playmaking, or much of anything good outside the play of Anthony Davis (who was a beast). New Orleans got its first win Friday night because Tim Frazier put up 15 points and 10 assists at the point, in addition to Davis dropping 32 points.
Which is why this is good news — Jrue Holiday is expected to return to the Pelicans next week, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical of Yahoo Sports.
Jrue Holiday's return to the Pelicans is imminent, league sources tell @TheVertical. He's planning to make his season debut next week.
Holiday is going to have to be eased back into condition, but his return is needed — the former All-Star averaged 16.8 points and six assists per game for the Pelicans last season.
Holiday has missed all of camp and the start of the season to be with his family. His wife Lauren Holiday — the former U.S. National Women’s soccer team star who is an Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champ — had a child while diagnosed with a brain tumor. Several weeks after she gave birth to a healthy daughter, she underwent successful surgery to have the benign tumor removed. Jrue had far more important places to be than a basketball court, but everything went well, and now he’s ready to return to work.
The Pelicans went into the season one of those teams where, if everything went right, they could make the playoffs — they were projected in that 46-36 win range where a lot of teams in the West will land. But starting out 0-8 may have dug New Orleans too deep a hole to climb out of.
Nuggets file protest over last-second loss in Memphis
In a release Thursday night, the Nuggets said the NBA released its final two-minute officiating report and acknowledged an incorrect possession call. Nuggets coach Michael Malone says the best-case scenario would be to “replay the last seven-tenths.”
The odds of that, though, are “slim and none,” Malone said.
But it’s not without precedent. Atlanta and Miami replayed the final 51.9 seconds of its disputed game during the 2007-08 season.
DeMarcus Cousins with a crossover? DeMarcus Cousins with a crossover.
Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. But in a close game getting late in the fourth quarter Thursday, DeMarcus Cousins burned Timofey Mozgov with the crossover then got to the rim before Nick Young was set to get the hoop and the harm. It was part of Cousins’ 28 points on the night, to go with his nine boards.
But all you need to know about where these teams are at is this: The Lakers executed better down the stretch and got the win 101-91. Lou Williams had 13 in the fourth, Young hit a critical three, meanwhile Kings’ players not named Cousins shot 2-of-15 in the fourth. Boogie wasn’t perfect, but you can’t blame the guy for being frustrated.
Three things we learned Thursday: Kevin Durant may be human, Warriors roll anyway
1) Kevin Durant is human, but Warriors offense just keeps on rolling anyway. We knew that with Kevin Durant getting added to a lineup that already had Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and the most firepower in the league, he was going to have nights where he just wouldn’t put up jaw-dropping numbers — and it wouldn’t matter.
That happened Thursday night — Durant “only” had 18 points on a night he was 1-of-7 shooting outside the paint. That ended his streak of 20-point scoring games at 72. Which is still just a ridiculous number and tied Michael Jordan for fourth all time (the record is 126 by Wilt Chamberlain, a man who scored at will on and off the court). Still, this is what qualifies as an off night for Durant.
And it didn’t matter because Stephen Curry’s ankle was fine (Steve Kerr almost rested him), he dropped 33 with seven threes, and the Warriors blew out the Nuggets 125-101. Curry was just being Curry (and his shot chart was an analytic dream night, with 16-of-17 shot attempts being either threes or at the rim, just one midrange jumper).
In a development as surprising as the Browns losing a football game, the Warriors have taken over the top spot in NBA offensive rating — they are scoring 111.8 points per 100 possessions after this win, which puts them in front of Cleveland and Boston for the top spot (but still just slightly off their 112.5 per 100 pace of last season). On offense, the Warriors are figuring it out fast. Defensively they have not yet been consistent, but they had a good night against a solid Denver team Thursday, doing it while on the second night of a back-to-back. The Warriors may be figuring out how to assemble Voltron.
2) Dwyane Wade goes home, picks up some love and a win. It may gnaw at the gut of Pat Riley, but fans in Miami love Dwyane Wade — and they let him know it Thursday night as he returned to American Airlines Arena in a Chicago Bulls uniform. Wade showed the hometown fans some flashes of what they miss.
However, this night reminded everyone why Wade should be rested on the second night of back-to-backs — 13 points on 5-of-17 shooting, 0-of-4 from three. The difference Thursday night was Wade had help in the form of Jimmy Butler, who had eight of his 20 in the fourth, while the Bulls defense held Miami to 39 percent shooting in the fourth (despite strong efforts from Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson). Thanks to that Chicago came out with the win and improved to 5-4 on the young season.
3) New Orleans wins! New Orleans wins! This game was fun because Anthony Davis (32 points) and Jabari Parker (33 points, with more than half of his shots uncontested somehow) put on a show.
The difference was Davis got some help — E’Twaun Moore had 20 points, while Tim Frazier put up 15 points and 10 assists. For the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 17 points and 10 boards (however five fouls made him a useless defender down the stretch), but take Paker and the Greek Freak out of the equation and the Bucks shot just 40.8 percent. That’s two games in a row the Bucks have let a team secure its first win of the season against them, which is not a good look.
Watch Stephen Curry drop 33 on Nuggets with seven three pointers
He had 14 points in the first quarter, then matched it with 14 in the third. He was on his way to 33 points on the night, including seven threes, as the Warriors ran away from the Nuggets 125-101. And it wasn’t that close.
The Warriors were rolling — except for Kevin Durant. He “only” had 18 points in the game, ending his streak of 20-point games at 72 — tying Michael Jordan’s streak (fourth-longest in NBA history). If the Warriors keep winning like this, Durant will not care.