The game was no contest on Friday night in Phoenix.
Anthony Davis and Nikola Mirotic dominated down low and from the outside. They combined for 64 points and 27 rebounds.
Jrue Holiday dominated the guards with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 6 boards.
For the Suns, Josh Jackson missed 16 of his 23 shots, but still posted a 22 point, 11 rebound game because... well, he took 23 shots as the Suns main offensive weapon.
Marquese Chriss had a season high 23 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists in limited time because of phantom (this time) foul trouble. This is one game after posting a season-high 13 rebounds.
Dragan Bender woke up for about 5 minutes in this one to make 4 threes and collect 14 points, 8 rebounds.
Tyler Ulis had 16 points, 4 assists and 5 rebounds. Shaq Harrison had 8 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds.
“Everyone”, quipped the media relations guy. Tyson Chandler, T.J. Warren, Elfrid Payton, Devin Booker. All starters, all out. Then you’ve got Alan Williams, Troy Daniels, Brandon Knight, all guys who can be first wave off the bench. All out too. Well at least they’re available for “decade night” recognition at halftime as the Suns celebrate the present and future.
DeMarcus Cousins was a huge loss for the Pelicans this year, but otherwise they are doing okay on the injury front right now.
Here’s what’s left for the Suns: Tyler Ulis, Danuel House (getting his first NBA start), Josh Jackson, Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss. Off the bench, Shaquille Harrison, Davon Reed and Alec Peters. All either 22 or under, or spent time in the G-League this season. Dayum.
For the Pellies, All-World Anthony Davis leads the show with NBA champ Rajon Rondo running point and All-Star Jrue Holiday at shooting guard in the back court. Nikola Mirotic and E’Twan Moore round out the starting lineup.
Suns need Josh Jackson to have the game of his life if they’re going to compete, which means he can’t get into foul trouble.
First play: foul by Jackson.
First five NOLA points: Anthony Davis.
Jackson started 0-5 from the floor.
Pelicans up 10-2 very quickly.
The Pelicans took seven threes in the first five minutes, making four of them.
Suns began the game 2-13 from the field.
And it was 20-4, Pelicans. Sad.
Davis and Nikola Mirotic combined for 28 points and 12 rebounds in the quarter.
The Pelicans took 18 threes in the first quarter ALONE. Most of them wide open. And made 8.
For the Suns, Jackson made only 2 of 11 shots. The Suns as a team missed 70% of their shots, and more than 80% of their threes.
Pelicans up 39-21 after one.
In the second quarter, Shaq Harrison upped his energy level and tried to disrupt the game enough for the Suns to have a chance. His effort level was fun to watch. He collected deflections or steals on most every NOLA possession, and the Suns were able to cut the NOLA lead to 11. All contributing were Davon Reed, Danuel House and Shaq.
That was when Anthony Davis and Nikola Mirotic returned. Quick 4-0 run for the Pellies at that point forced Triano into a timeout
...and put the starting lineup back in. To bad results. Real bad.
When Josh Jackson committed a foul with nothing but his face, you knew it was wasn’t going to go well.
Alley oops were being missed. Open threes missed. Just a comedy of bad play distracted momentarily by hustle.
At halftime, Mirotic and Davis have combined for 44 points. The Suns as a team have 46. Unfortunately, there are 5 other Pelicans who scored in the half.
Pelicans by 17 at halftime, up 63-46.
Shaq Harrison is the Suns best first half player: 8 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal.
Both teams came out a bit ragtag in the second half, enough that Alvin Gentry called a timeout less than two minutes into the half.
Jackson didn’t start out the second half any better than the first and was pulled from the lineup at 3-15 from the field.
As the Suns, behind Shaq and Tyler Ulis, began to cut into the Pelicans lead, getting it down to 9 at one point, it was Jrue Holiday that went to work and scored on three straight possessions at the rim.
And then there’s always Mirotic and Davis, who now each have double doubles on the night. Davis has 27 points and 10 rebounds, while Mirotic has 21 points and 11 rebounds. And there’s more than a quarter left to go. Tough to win when you’re relying on G-leaguers and guys who are still college aged.
Holiday’s three got it back to an 18 point lead real quick. Holiday now has 20 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds. He’s made 4 of 5 threes.
End of three: Suns down 86-70.
Suns leaders so far: Tyler Ulis with 14/3/4, Jackson 13/7 (but on 18 shots), Bender 8/6, Chriss 14/5, Harrison 8/4/3.
Let’s see if the Suns have another run in them.
Three minutes into the quarter, the Suns had cut the deficit to 12 on the back of a pair of Bender threes. That gives him 4 threes in the last few game minutes, counting two toward the end of the third quarter.
Mirotic has been a real difference maker in this game. He got the Pelicans back up to a 17 point lead with five points in two possessions, sandwiching a successful shutdown of Bender on the other end. Mirotic now has 29 points and 13 rebounds.
The Suns just could not sustain any kind of positive play, and were lucky to keep this game under 30 for the most part.
Once again, they began doing bad-team things like missing dunks and putbacks, while allowing them on the other end. Not a good recipe, bob.