New Orleans Pelicans bury 17 3-pointers in 116-99 win

By The Sports Xchange  |  Jan. 24, 2016 at 12:55 AM
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NEW ORLEANS -- Slowly, very slowly, the New Orleans Pelicans seem to be catching on to coach Alvin Gentry's idea of what breakneck, share-the-wealth basketball is all about.

Moving the ball with speed and precision, the Pelicans made a franchise-record 17 3-pointers, including six by forward Ryan Anderson and four by reserve guard Toney Douglas, to bury the Milwaukee Bucks 116-99 on Saturday night at the Smoothie King Center.

It was the fifth win in six games for the surging Pelicans (16-27), who have another four games remaining on their season-long, seven-game homestand.

"This is something brand new -- what we're trying to do -- with every guy in this locker room," Gentry said. "It's taken them awhile to kind of see exactly what we wanted. And, in all honesty, it's taken us as a coaching staff awhile to understand exactly what we can get from guys and the spots where we want the ball."

Case in point was how the Pelicans adjusted to the Bucks deciding to double- and triple-team forward Anthony Davis in the first half. Davis was held to 2-of-7 shooting from the field and six points in the first half, which the Pelicans led 52-51 by capitalizing on 11 Bucks turnovers.

But the first four times Davis touched the ball in the second half, he attacked the double-team with quick passes from the left post. Twice he found center Omer Asik slashing to the basket for layups, and twice the ball found point guard Norris Cole open for 3-pointers in a 10-4 run that put New Orleans up 62-55.

"I thought (the Pelicans) reacted very well to a lot of things to start the third quarter," interim Milwaukee coach Joe Prunty said. "That probably was the catalyst for the whole run. The first four or five possessions (they ran) the same play. Anthony Davis has got the ball -- whether he finds Asik or it gets kicked out. Their energy and execution to start the second half was better."

Anderson matched his season high with 6-of-11 shooting on 3-pointers to lead the Pelicans with 23 points. Davis added 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and five other New Orleans players scored in double figures.

The Pelicans finished 17 of 31 from 3-point range and had season-high 33 assists on 43 made field goals. The assist total was so celebrated that it was written in bold letters on the locker room blackboard after the game.

"We were knocking down shots," said point guard Jrue Holiday, who came off the bench to score 13 points with nine assists and a plus-32 point differential.

"We just kind of spread them out and Ryan started hitting. AD was passing out of the trap way better in the second half, making really, really, sharp, clean passes, and we converted all of them."

The Bucks (19-27) were paced by guard Khris Middleton, who scored 14 of his 22 points in the third quarter, and center Greg Monroe, who had 22 points and 11 rebounds.

The Pelicans trailed 68-66 late in the third quarter but finished on an 18-6 run to take an 84-74 lead into the fourth quarter. New Orleans iced the game with a 16-9 surge to open the fourth quarter to build a 100-83 lead.

"We had a hard time getting out to cover their 3-point shots, and they got hot from behind the line," Monroe said. "We have to communicate better and do a better job of running people off the line. Ryan Anderson is one of the most outstanding shooters in the league."

Anderson said in winning a season-high four consecutive home games the Pelicans are showing they are finally catching on to Gentry's system.

"The past few games we've had this sense of commanding our presence on the game and never losing control," Anderson said. "We just keep pouring it on and not letting up. In the past, that's been an issue with us. We just continue to push the tempo."

NOTES: New Orleans F Alonzo Gee scored a season-high 12 points to go with six rebounds and three assists. ... Interim Bucks coach Joe Prunty said he relished his experience filling in for Jason Kidd for one month while Milwaukee's head coach rehabbed from hip surgery. Kidd is expected back on the sidelines Tuesday when the Bucks play Orlando. "For me individually, it's a great experience," Prunty said. "One thing we always talk about is trust, and what Coach Kidd did to put the trust in all of us as staff is very important. We've been moving in the right direction." ... The Pelicans have won five of six and need to remain focused, said coach Alvin Gentry. "We're on a (seven-game) homestand where we're trying to make up ground," Gentry said. "Everybody would like to win three in a row, five in a row, 10 in a row, but for us, it's just the next game on the schedule." ... The Pelicans are 12-11 with Jrue Holiday coming off the bench at point guard and 4-14 with him as a starter.

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