Jrue Holiday Sparks Late Push In Return, Leads Pelicans Over Knicks 99-91
The 2015-16 season has been a disappointment for the New Orleans Pelicans to say the least. After making the playoffs last season, the Pelicans are already eliminated from playoff contention and had to shut down franchise cornerstone Anthony Davis, who had a great season, just not the MVP caliber season many predicted.
A positive arrived on Monday night in the form of Jrue Holiday returning from a two game absence because of a toe injury. Holiday scored 10 of his 22 points in the final 6:20 of the Pelicans’ 99-91 victory over the Knicks at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.
Holiday capped off his well rounded effort with a turnaround fadeaway to give New Orleans a 92-85 lead with 1:19 remaining in the game. The seventh year point guard from UCLA also added six rebounds, six assists, and four steals in the contest. He was forced to leave after taking an inadvertent elbow from Kristaps Porzingis while trying to get open for an in-bounds play with 52 seconds remaining. According to Pelicans’ coach Alvin Gentry, Holiday’s eye socket had to checked out by medical staff. Any missed time would be an addition to the long list of injuries suffered by the team in this underwhelming season. Three projected starters have been shut down due to injuries this season, Davis (24.3 points per game, 10.3 rebounds per game, 2 blocks per game), Tyreke Evans (15.2 PPG, 6.6 assists per game, 5.2 RPG), and Eric Gordon (15.2 PPG).
“I’m going to send out an all-points bulletin to anybody in the French Quarter or anywhere else; we need a voodoo doctor or something here,” Gentry said. “We’ve got to find the bones under this place or do something.”
For the Knicks, it was a rough shooting night for anyone not named Robin Lopez. The veteran center was the only Knick with significant minutes to shoot at least 50% from the field, finishing 8-12 for 17 points.
Star forward Carmelo Anthony led the team with 22 points on 9-22 shooting (4-11 on 3pt) and was frustrated with the team’s second straight loss.
“We should have won this game. There’s no if, ands or buts about that,” Anthony said, noting that the injury-decimated Pelicans are missing most of their key players. “Most of the guys (still available to play) on their team — no disrespect to them — they play a limited role. They play limited minutes.”
Porzingis, one of the top rookies in the league, added a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, He also had two steals and three blocks, two of which came on dunk attempts.
During a pause in play in the final minute, a kid rushed from the stands and hugged Anthony. The veteran small forward played it cool and patted the youngster on the head before the kid retreated towards the stands.
When Anthony was asked about the incident after the game he said, “It was a little kid. I was shocked. I didn’t really know who was it until I actually looked over and saw that it was a kid.
“I think it was because he was a little kid, they just let him go,” he continued. “Definitely a security issue though, for sure.”
The game meant little as both teams were already eliminated from playoff contention. The Pelicans will hope Holiday is able to return for the next game, which is at San Antonio on March 30 with a 8:30 PM EST tip. The Knicks will also be in the Lone Star State on the 30th when they take on Dallas, which also tips off at 8:30.