Initially this was meant to be a recap on the Pelicans’ spectacular comeback 117-112 win over the surprisingly competent thus far Indiana Pacers. However, as much as I look at the game and pour through the numbers I just kept getting sucked back into the BoogieBrow’s orbit. Sure, due to their own immense talent as well as the lack of such around them it is expected to take on a especially large role in production but the fact that they’re doing so and don’t well……suck is most striking. Their 6-5 record in the face of all of their challenges is one of the more compelling stories of this young season.
Last night is probably the best example of this. After surrendering an eye-popping 75 first half points to the Pacers the Pels’ settled down and fought their way back with a masterful half on both sides of the basketball. It didn’t hurt that the combo of Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins not only sparked this club offensively but also clamped down. To put it better perspective while New Orleans gave up 37 and 38 respectively in the first two quarters of the game they allowed only 38 points in all of the second half. Let that sink in for a minutes. The two registered all four of their blocks in the second half and more or less challenged everything in their orbit.
Offensively Davis finished with 37 points on an otherworldly 14 of 18 from the field including 4 of 5 from beyond the arc. Cousins’ 32 points came a little messier (I mean, duh) but was effective nevertheless. A pretty big night right? What if I told you that while if I told you that as awesome as this display was that it isn’t THAT far from the norm.
After last night the two Pelican big men are amongst the league leaders in many of the league’s statistical categories. Boogie ranks 4th in scoring (28.9), 3rd in rebounding (13.6) and 5th in blocks (2.1). Davis not to be outdone is 6th in scoring (28.4), 5th in rebounding (12.8) and 4th in blocks (2.1). They also rank as by far the most efficient group in the league with Davis and Cousins ranking 2nd and 4th.
In how these numbers correlate to the team’s composite statistics however paints the rest of the picture. The duo’s scoring accounts for 54% of their points, they nab 57% of their boards (not really all that bad but it shows their lack of a quality backup big), and makes up almost 80% of their blocks ( like I said…..oh nevermind). Look, it isn’t a mystery that the rest of this roster is to put it nicely, lacking. And my intentions here is to highlight and celebrate their exemplary work here. It’s a huge feat considering the declining stock of big men in the association (although their shooting and mobility saves them from most of this criticism). But winning games is the whole point right? Especially for an organization in dire straits as the Pels most definitely are.
As much as we’ve gotten accustomed to straight destroying the quality of their role guys in spots it’s more a situation of misuse as opposed to uselessness. The Jameer Nelson acquisition helped give them their sole active pass first guard on the roster for the time being and it has helped. Nelson isn’t going to shoot your lights out but he’s effective enough to pay attention to him as he is still very effective at snaking into the lane and facilitating. E’Twaun Moore and Ian Clark are forced to play in a minute tier that they’re just not cut out for. Both guys arguably have (lower level) starter talent but their inconsistency exposes them. As guys come back from in jury and rotation guys become more comfortable with their roles we may very well see a Pelican team that can make a run at the post season but for now I’d say enjoy the Boogie and Brow show and pray that it doesn’t face cancellation soon.