New Orleans Pelicans
Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: Chris Paul caps off the back-to-back with another 25 point game, this time adding 11 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals. The Clippers Point Guard was also 3/4 from behind the arc, and finishes the week with averages of 23.7 points, 12.3 assists and 5.3 rebounds on 53.6% shooting.
That was … a scoring drought: The Clippers failed to make a field goal from the 6:05 mark of the fourth quarter until the end of the period, which many times would have cost them the game, if not for the Pelicans’ own inability to make a basket with 2:56 left.
X factor: The ability to intentionally foul a player as part of the play on a free throw attempt was used constantly during the final moments of the Overtime period, as Alvin Gentry would foul Luc Richard Mbah a Moute twice and later Wesley Johnson. The duo would only go 3-6 from the stripe, giving Ryan Anderson an opportunity to shoot a three pointer and bring the game to a second OT. Unfortunately for the Pelicans, not only did the shot miss, but had it have gone in, it only would have counted as two points as Anderson’s foot was on the three-point line.
— Brandon Tomyoy
Tweet(s) Of The Game
Interesting lob finish. https://t.co/n4iLblkPQn
— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) January 10, 2016
Mbah a Moute went 6-of-6 for a season-high 14 points. Most made FGs in a game without a miss for him in his career.
— Rowan Kavner (@RowanKavner) January 11, 2016
I know Pellies don't wanna overdo AD at the 5 but do they really have a choice? Anderson is like their 2nd most important player
— sam esfandiari (@samesfandiari) January 10, 2016
Check Your Messages
I like to draw parallels between basketball and rap; they’re fun, the two disciplines rose to national prominence at the same time, and there are a dozen other reasons others more qualified than me have listed elsewhere. One of my favorite parts of hip-hop is the “cipher”. You’ve probably seen one of these at some point – a crowd of participants circles up and takes turns rhyming in the circle. The best of these can often garner attention for him/herself by demonstrating great skill at what’s known as “freestyling” – that is, improvising clever rhymes on the fly, or “off the top” of one’s head.
Today, a certain Clippers player was able to do something similar. In moments the Clippers were moving the ball crisply and decisively, yet the Pelicans were able to smother all the open shots the Clips were aiming to take. It was in those moments that Luc Mbah a Moute – a player who has been searching for his place in the offense all season – finally distinguished himself by freestyling his way to 12 points right at the rim, running the lane without the ball when the plays fell apart. This sort of improvisation has created scoring opportunities for him in the last few games, and it looks like his teammates have noticed; all of those points were assisted by a player trapped under the rim and looking for an outlet. When that outlet comes in the form of a rim-running forward coming in behind the defense, a bucket is almost certain. More pieces are coming together for the Ship Gang, just in time to get a sense of what else is needed at the trade deadline.