The city of New Orleans is an interesting location for 400,000 people to live, seeing as how most of the city is below sea level. With a 4 foot increase in the sea level since Hurricane Katrina, it is getting a little dicey keeping all those people protected by just a couple of levees. Yet, I am no politician. I don’t know where we could move all of those people, but I can see clearly that continuing to allow people to live below sea level so close to an ocean that is susceptible to hurricanes is a little . . . alarming. But it says something about the people who inhabit this city, they are fighters. Even after getting knocked down over a decade ago, they have come back stronger than ever. And they have a basketball team that represents that fight.
The New Orleans Pelicans made a huge move in last season’s deadline by trading for Demarcus Cousins. Things were looking great. Boogie was averaging 25.2 points per game and 13 rebounds per game before he suffered a huge blow when he tore his Achilles’ tendon on January 26th. This was supposed to be their death blow. The Pelicans were 27-21 and were sitting in 8th place. There was no way that Anthony Davis could carry this team to the playoffs without his Twin Tower. Yet here they are, sitting in the 5th seed with three games to go. Davis has shown that he can not only lead this team, but that he can be the best player on the court on any given night.
Just like their city, they have fought even harder after being knocked down and doubted. With the Western Conference playoff race as tight as it is, they can either be knocked out of playoff contention or have home court advantage in round one depending on how things shake out over these final days of the NBA season. But in this case, let’s say the Pelicans stay where they are at and stay at the 5 seed. This will match them up with the Utah Jazz in the first round. The efficiency of the Pelicans could win them this series, as a team they are 2nd in the NBA in field goal percentage whereas the Jazz are 14th. Guys like NBA Champion Rajon Rondo and Jrue Holiday will have way too much playoff experience against a young guy like Donovan Mitchell. They will kill him in the pick and roll and will play tight defense on him throughout the series. A dominant Anthony Davis will not make this series pretty as they will win in 5 games.
The second round will be their toughest test, matching up with the Houston Rockets. The Pelicans will not have any answer for James Harden, but they will win every other matchup on the court. The Rockets are a high volume three point shooting team and the Pelicans allow the second most three point attempts per game, which is not a recipe for success. But per 100 possessions, the Pelicans are 9th in the NBA in opponent field goal percentage, so there is hope. The Pelicans will force the Rockets to step up and take deep two point shots, and Nikola Mirotic and Anthony Davis will Dominate the boards and limit the Rockets second chance points. The deep point guard play will wear down Chris Paul as they can throw their two guys I previously mentioned as well as another NBA Champion in Ian Clark. The Rockets will prove that they were who we thought they were all season, choke artists. The Pelicans will pull off the upset in 7 games, and Anthony Davis will average an unbelievable 50 points and 20 rebounds over the course of the series.
The Golden State Warriors could not overcome their injuries and got knocked out by the Portland Trail Blazers, and the Pelicans are thankful. As the Pelicans will continue to share the ball well as they have all season, their rank of 2nd in the NBA in team assists will shine throughout this series. The Blazers are 23rd in the NBA in steals, and their inability to force turnovers will allow for the Pelicans to display incredible ball movement that will tire the Blazers out. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will exert so much energy on the defensive end that they will not be able to score like they usually do. E’Twaun Moore will carry his season long 50% shooting into this series and will not miss a beat. Newly added piece Jordan Crawford, will turn heads and have people going “When the hell did they get Jordan Crawford?” He’s been there, we just didn’t pay attention. The Pelicans will do right by their city and will advance in 6 games over the Blazers.
The Boston Celtics somehow willed their way to the NBA Finals on the back of their coach Brad Stevens. But their incredible run will fall short, as Stevens will remember what it feels like to lose in the championship. The lack of stars that can deliver in the biggest moments will make it tough on the Celtics. Head coach Alvin Gentry will push all the right buttons and every lineup he throws out there will work. Rajon Rondo will get an increase in minutes as he will show once again what he is capable of when he is on the biggest stage. The Celtics will dribble the ball way too much and their 20th rank in assists will make it difficult for them to score. They also allow the 10th most rebounds in the NBA, which is not good when you’re facing off against Anthony Davis. As he did when he reached the championship at the college level, Davis will dominate the boards and will block every shot that comes near him. The low scoring affairs will be bad for television ratings, but will be indicative of the city of New Orleans. As we continue to go through our day, they continue to rebuild their city. Anthony Davis will bring a championship back to New Orleans the way Drew Brees did, and his path to getting a levee named after him will begin.
Some Brow highlights just cuz...
Just a man trying to make the most of his time on this planet.