To be honest, the game should have never been this close. New Orleans is a team that has playoff aspirations. Atlanta is fighting to not have the worst record in the league. New Orleans is 12th in the league in PPG (107.5). Atlanta is ranked 23rd (102.5). New Orleans is 13th in defensive rating. Atlanta is 25th.
See where I’m going with this?
Looking at these aspects alone, it would be a reasonable hypothesis to say the Pelicans should breeze to a win. However, as we all know, this was not the case.
In a 106-105 victory over the Hawks, NOLA struggled mightily, specifically on defense. For the season, Atlanta shoots a respectable 38.4% from 3-point range. Tonight, they shot an astounding 47% from downtown (17-36).They just couldn’t be stopped. Couple this with an overall 46% from the field and you had a solid night on offense.
The Pelicans too saw an impressive offensive outing, shooting a solid 39% from deep and 54% from the field. This should be standard for NOLA. With offensive studs such as Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Jrue Holiday on the roster numbers like these should be the norm.
Surprisingly enough, however, those 3 aforementioned players weren’t even the most important offensive weapons out there tonight. While Boogie almost notched a triple-double (22 points, 16 rebounds, 7 assists) it was Darius Miller who carried the team.
With a career high 21 points notched while shooting 8 of 11 from the field and a STELLAR 5 of 8 from downtown, it was the Miller show in NOLA tonight. Top these statistics off with the go-ahead 3 with just 55 seconds left in the fourth, and you have the hero of the game.
The game came down to the wire. With Atlanta stealing the ball with .7 seconds remaining, Kent Bazemore took and, ultimately missed the final shot of the contest. While tonights outing generated a lot of excitement throughout, the game should not have been this close to begin with. But a win’s a win and, with this win, they should ride the momentum into their next matchup Wednesday as the Pelicans take on the Raptors.