Jrue Holiday scored 14 points and handed out 12 assists as the Pelicans beat the Sixers, 135-98. (USA Today Images)
NEW ORLEANS -- The Sixers suffered their worst loss of the season on Saturday night to the New Orleans Pelicans, 135-98 (see Instant Replay). The Pelicans scored 30-plus points in all four quarters as they shot 61 percent from the floor and had eight guys finish in double-figure scoring.
To say the Sixers were on their heels defensively throughout the game would be an understatement.
“When you look at how it happened, there were so many blocked shots,” Brett Brown said afterward trying to pinpoint when the floodgates opened. “You are looking at it and it is a volleyball game. [The Pelicans] had nine blocked shots in the first half and it set them off in transition. I felt like we were behind the 8-ball from the start in transition.”
The Pelicans scored 26 fast-break points to the Sixers’ 13 and blocked 16 shots to the Sixers’ two.
Those two categories were the difference and it was Anthony Davis that had the biggest hand in it, recording eight of those 16 blocks.
“He has a timing aspect that is exceptional,” Brown said of Davis’ shot-blocking abilities. “Tim Duncan never boasted his athleticism but he would not get lifted; he would wait and wait and pick it out of the air when it was appropriate. Davis has that timing aspect, plus he has that bounce.”
In addition to Davis’ bounce, the Pelicans got a shot in the arm Saturday with the return of Ryan Anderson, who had been sidelined because of injury for the first nine games.
Anderson, who came in as a career 38 percent three-point shooter, looked as good as ever, making 6 of 10 attempts from long distance, finishing with 26 points to lead all scorers.
And Jrue Holiday, playing his old team for the first time since being traded to New Orleans on draft night, posted a double-double with 14 points and 12 assists.
“They are a good team,” Thad Young said. “They have a lot of guys with experience. They were pacing, pacing, getting up and down the court. Ryan Anderson came into the game and Tyreke Evans came into the game and I think that was the changing point.”
Young had the pulse of the situation. Anderson and Evans checked in with 6:48 to play in the first quarter and the Pelicans up 17-15. The two subs proceeded to score New Orleans’ next 15 points to stretch the Pelicans’ lead to 32-20.
While New Orleans had many hot hands, the Sixers, who have lost six of their last eight games and are now 5-6 overall, would have settled for just one. The Sixers’ starters were 22 for 58 from the floor. And leading scorer Evan Turner (23.4 points per game) was just 2 for 11 from the floor for four points, his first single-digit scoring effort this season.
“He had an off night,” Brown said. “It is unfair to dump the weight of all of that on him. He knows the role that he plays with this year’s team but it is still a team and a group effort. He struggled tonight and so did we.”