Tyreke Evans said he was playing through a “throbbing” knee pain during the Pelicans’ first-round series against the Warriors.
Wednesday Evans had something done about it, undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, the team announced. While the team refused to announce a timetable for his return, scope jobs tend to be relatively minor, with 4-6 week recovery times.
Thrust more into a playmaking role this season with Jrue Holiday injured for long stretches, Evans played fairly well for the Pelicans, helping them to 45 wins and making the playoffs.
Evans should be good to go by the start of training camp next season, where a new, yet-to-be-named coach will try to blend the offensive games of Evans, Holiday, Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon. Oh, and get the team to play some defense, too.
Report: John Calipari getting Kentucky contract extension that makes NBA jump less likely
The Nuggets and Magic don’t necessarily need previous Calipari ties to pursue him, and other jobs will likely open this offseason.
A $1.6 million bonus on July 1 certainly makes it more likely Calipari remains at Kentucky. But if Calipari finds a situation he likes, I doubt $1.6 million will keep him from the NBA – and there’s a chance he won’t have to choose between the two.
Jimmy Butler tops 29 other vote-getters to win Most Improved Player
With a difficult-to-define award like this, let’s just say plenty of voters – intentionally or not – showed bias toward the team they covered. Thirty players received votes, and though none of the recipients are horrid choices, it’s difficult to make the case many of them were among the three most-improved players in the entire league.
Here’s the full voting:
Player (team) first-place votes, second-place votes, third-place votes, points
Up three, why didn’t New Orleans intentionally foul?
“We were supposed to foul,” Pelicans coach Monty Williams said. “In situations like that, we’ve had that happened to us a couple times, and they shouldn’t have even had that shot take place. We just didn’t execute, and that’s on all of us. But we were supposed to foul.”
Said Anthony Davis: “I don’t know. I thought he made it very clear: We’re supposed to foul. Things happen in the game.”
Quincy Pondexter, who was guarding Curry, has taken the brunt of blame for not fouling. But I’m not sure he ever had a clear opportunity.
When Curry caught the inbound, it appeared he might immediately catch and shoot. The last thing you want to do is foul him while he’s shooting a 3-pointer.
Curry took one dribble, which would have presented a golden opportunity to foul. But Pondexter’s momentum was carrying him the opposite direction, and I’m not sure he could have immediately reached to foul while preventing a shot. By the time Pondexter shifted direction, Curry was actually shooting.
That first attempt missed – which presented the real opportunity to foul.
Marreese Speights grabbed the offensive rebound and took a dribble inside the arc – with his back turned to the basket! Tyreke Evans definitely and Davis probably had an opportunity to foul Speights, who, not for nothing, made 84 percent of his free throws to Curry’s 91 percent this season.
Many factors tilt specific situations – Curry’s 3-point ability chief among them here. His superb free-throw shooting also matters, though. So, a chance to foul Speights – especially after Williams instructed to foul – should have been executed. It wasn’t, and Curry lost Pondexter in the scramble (another problem for another day) and made the game-tying 3-pointer. Ironically, the Pelicans fouled Curry on that attempt, though it wasn’t called.
Troublingly, this was far from New Orleans’ only issue with when to foul in this game.
The Warriors had the ball and the lead in overtime with the game clock and shot clock practically in sync. To any well-trained team, this is an auto-foul situation. But the Pelicans let about 10 precious seconds run off before actually fouling, even as Williams appeared to call for a foul:
Later in the extra period, Davis missed a potential game-tying shot and Golden State got the rebound. Again, this is auto-foul territory. Instead, Davis made a halfhearted effort and then gave up on the play, and Jrue Holiday retreated a half step before going for a foul. That allowed the Warriors to call timeout:
In the clearest must-foul situation of all – and the others were pretty clear – Tyreke Evans squared up to guard Curry for a couple beats before fouling after the ensuing inbound:
Curry made both free throws to ice the game, but had he missed one, every fraction of a second would have helped the Pelicans’ final possession.
This seems to be a systematic problem with several players not understanding when to foul, which points to a coaching issue. Maybe Williams is doing everything he can, but the players aren’t listening. Maybe the coach isn’t drilling these situations often enough. It’s an impossible diagnosis to make from afar.
But if Williams isn’t going anywhere, the Pelicans must handle these instances better. Davis will get them into a lot of big games, and like last night, some of them will be close. New Orleans can’t keep putting itself at a disadvantage down the stretch like this.
PBT Extra: Can Pelicans find efficient second scorer next to Anthony Davis?
The Pelicans have been game in their first round series against heavily favorited Golden State, and the Warriors had to work for their wins. In this PBT Extra I suggest to Jenna Corrado if the Pelicans are going to steal a game at home in this series, they are going to need to get Davis some help — someone else to put up efficient points. Eric Gordon has put up more than 19 points a game this series, and he’s hit his threes, but he’s been turnover prone and inefficient.
With Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday banged up, I’m not sure who it will be. The Warriors have done a good job limiting Ryan Anderson. But the Pelicans need someone else to step up. Because we know at some point Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson will.