Sunday, March 16, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Pelicans 121, C's 120 (OT)
By Chris Forsberg
Rapid reaction after the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Boston Celtics 121-120 in overtime on Sunday night at Smoothie King Arena:
THE NITTY GRITTY
Just-turned 21-year-old Anthony Davis scored a career-high 40 points to go along with 21 rebounds -- the first player to put up a 40/20 game against Boston since a 31-year-old Shaquille O'Neal (48 points, 20 rebounds) did it in 2003 -- while Tyreke Evans added 26 points as the Pelicans emerged despite fumbling away numerous leads. Jeff Green matched his season high with 39 points on 12-of-23 shooting with six rebounds, an assist and a block over 39:21. Kris Humphries -- the buzzer-beating savior in regulation -- had a double-double (16 points, 12 rebounds), while Jared Sullinger filled up his stat line (14 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, steal) in 30 minutes off the bench.
TURNING POINT: HUMP FORCES OT
The teams were knotted at 87 with 10:47 remaining in regulation when the Pelicans embarked on a 15-2 run fueled by Davis and Evans. It was an Evans finger roll that had New Orleans out front 102-89 with 5:36 to go and that should have been the game. Instead, the Celtics charged. Green hit a trio of free throws to tie the tilt with four seconds to play, only for Davis to answer with a 17-foot turnaround with 1.4 seconds to go. The Pelicans defended the inbounds well, but Rondo eventually found Humphries on the right side and he threw up a rainbow over Davis that fell to force the extra session.
TURNING POINT II: SULLY CAN'T WIN IT
The Celtics were down five with little more than a minute to play in overtime, but Sullinger hit a 3-pointer and had a shot to push Boston ahead with 12 seconds to go with a wide-open look from just above the break on the right side. The shot found iron and, despite New Orleans' best effort to let Boston hang around, they did enough to emerge with the win.
Rajon Rondo turned in 6 points, 14 assists and 8 rebounds over 44:31. ... The Pelicans scored 70 (SEVENTY!) points in the paint compared to Boston's 46. ... The game featured 15 lead changes and 10 ties; New Orleans led by as much as 13, while Boston had a nine-point advantage early on. ... Despite the extra session, the Celtics stayed 10 deep on the first night of a back-to-back. Chris Babb and Joel Anthony logged DNPs.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (22-45) have lost four in a row and will still own the fourth-worst record in basketball. Boston remains winless on the road against the Western Conference this season (0-14) and its last chance to break up that shutout comes on Monday when the Celtics visit the Dallas Mavericks. Give the Celtics this: They've certainly been entertaining this season. They made the final 15 minutes of this game highly entertaining.