Pelicans’ Tyreke Evans leaves Game 1 with knee injury, MRI Sunday


The Pelicans were gamers on Saturday in their first ever playoff series. They were getting blown out, down 25 in the third but fought back to make it interesting in the end, falling to Golden State 106-99.

They did all that without Tyreke Evans — and he may be out for a while.

With just more than five minutes left in the second quarter, Evans collided with Andre Iguodala and the Pelicans’ guard injured his knee. He did not return to the game with what was officially called a bruised left knee.

However, to hear Evans talk after the game it sounds like more than that. From John Reid at the Times-Picayune.

“We were coming down and banged knees real hard,” Evans said. ”I felt like a little pop or snap. I don’t know what it is, but I will get an MRI (Saturday night) and I’ll see.”

That’s not good. Evans is set to have an MRI on Sunday.

Evans averaged 16.6 points and 6.6 assists this year for the Pelicans, becoming the primary ball handler with Jrue Holiday out injured. If Evans has to miss time, the Pelicans have Holiday back to lean on again, plus we likely would see more Norris Cole.

Not that this would change the ultimate outcome of the series, but the Pelicans are less dangerous without him — this season the Pelican’s offense drops 6.8 points per 100 possessions when Evans is on the bench.

Pelicans clinch playoff berth and eliminate Thunder with win over Spurs


A slight real or imagined, Anthony Davis thinks the Warriors don’t respect his team.

He’ll get a chance to do something about it.

Davis led the Pelicans to a 108-103 win over the Spurs tonight, clinching the No. 8 seed and a first-round matchup with Golden State for New Orleans and eliminating the Thunder from the playoff race.

Afterward, Davis hugged Pelicans coach Monty Williams.

“I love him, man! I love him!” Davis said. “…He told us, three weeks ago, we were three games out, and everybody counted us out. He said, ‘I’ve been around a long time. Anything can happen.'”

Something did.

The Pelicans won eight of their final 11, passed the Thunder and Suns and made the playoffs for the first time since 2011.

New Orleans hasn’t escaped that “anything can happen” mindset.

The Pelicans jumped to a 20-point lead early in the second quarter and never trailed again. As dangerous as the Spurs are, New Orleans controlled this game and was in little danger of losing late.

But the Pelicans – especially Davis, who who had 31 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks – showed little joy or relief until the final seconds were ticking off.

Chris Paul led New Orleans’ last postseason team, and three straight losing seasons followed before this year’s 45-37 breakthrough.

The Pelicans will begin the playoffs Saturday at Golden State. Tonight, like a win over the Warriors last week, shows the Pelicans are capable of rising to the occasion. They probably won’t win the series, but they can sure make it interesting.

Davis is a legitimate MVP candidate, as his home fans frequently reminded him tonight. However this season ends, he deserves this stage, a chance to shine in at least four straight nationally televised games.

His win-now supporting cast – Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon, Jrue Holiday, Omer Asik, Ryan Anderson – has stepped up, but this is Davis’ team. He got the New Orleans here.

Remember, this playoff race would have already been decided for Oklahoma City if not for this:

Like I said, Davis and the Pelicans come up big when they need to.

In February against the Thunder, tonight against the Spurs and – maybe, just maybe – in the playoffs against the Warriors.

Anything is possible.

Russell Westbrook scores 34 (!) points in half with Thunder’s playoff hopes on the line



This is why Jrue Holiday has to make tough shots like this.

Russell Westbrook scored 34 (!) points in the first half against the Timberwolves, leading the Thunder to a 76-54 lead.

If Oklahoma City wins and the Pelicans lose to the Spurs, the Thunder make the playoffs. Otherwise, New Orleans gets the final berth in the Western Conference.

Westbrook, who also had six rebounds and four assists can’t control what the Pelicans do – they’re up 67-53 at the half – but he’s darn sure doing his best to ensure Oklahoma City does its part.

Jrue Holiday’s off-balance jumper beats first-quarter buzzer, puts Pelicans up 15 on Spurs

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If they beat the Spurs tonight, the Pelicans are in the playoffs. If they lose, they’d need the Thunder to lose to the Timberwolves (which isn’t happening, at least so far and probably with not after four quarters).

Just a little context for this Jrue Holiday jumper, which would would be pretty impressive even in a vacuum.

Jrue Holiday returns to Pelicans’ lineup Friday, on minutes restriction


The last time we saw Jrue Holiday on the court it was Jan. 12. Back then, he was key to the Pelicans’ backcourt averaging 15.2 points and 7.1 assists a game, plus he was shooting 36.7 percent from three. Even more than that, he’s a quality defender that the Pelicans need on the perimeter.

However, a “stress reaction” in his right leg sidelined him for more than three months.

Friday night Holiday will be back albeit in a limited role. Coach Monty Williams said this at shootaround, as reported on the Pelicans’ official site.

“He won’t be playing more than 15 minutes a game for the rest of the season,” Williams said. “Unless he feels better and we feel like he’s not in harm’s way – then we’ll increase it. But I doubt that he’ll get to his normal minute allotment. Jrue’s a guy who can play 35 to 40 minutes a night, but he won’t get to that.”


Holiday likely takes minutes away from Toney Douglass and Norris Cole. That’s an upgrade.

In Holiday’s absence the Pelicans have transformed — Tyreke Evans is the guy with the ball in his hands more — but they have battled back and are currently the eighth seed in the West. They are tied with Oklahoma City, but the Pelicans have the tie breaker.

Holiday returns against Phoenix, a team with a quality backcourt where his defense could be useful. The Pelicans need wins to stay in the playoff mix.