Davis-less Pelicans Soar Over Rockets, Popovich Edging Closer to the Door, Neymar Out

Jonathan Grant | January 30th, 2019

All anyone could talk about for the past few days has been Anthony Davis and his status on the New Orleans Pelicans. And rightfully so, he’s a transcendent player that can shake up the game for a decade with his next move. But on Tuesday night, his Pelicans side faced off with the Houston Rockets and James Harden without him, and they showed their was fight in them despite not having him for the game. Davis was out, among other Pelicans starters, and that meant that only Jrue Holiday remained as a regular starter for the visitors in Houston. However, that didn’t stop them from going toe-to-toe with the Rockets, a team that have been among the very best in the past month or two. At one point, they trailed by 15 points, but they clawed their way back by finding weak spots in the Rockets defense and by making sure Harden wasn’t quite as effective. Yes, Harden still got his customary 30+ points on the night, but they still did a great job at blocking off everything else. Holiday was exceptional at making Harden’s night as tough as possible, and he also added 19 points in the 121-116 win. Harden called it pathetic that his team lost to a team so diminished currently. But that’s just the way it is. Some nights you are the hammer, sometimes you’re the nail. Jahlil Okafor stepped up in a big way for the Pelicans with 27 points in the victory, something that should be noted.

Slam

Another game took place in Texas on Tuesday night, and it looks like it was another example of how the NBA has passed Greg Popovich by in the last couple of years. His San Antonio Spurs somehow managed to hold off the Phoenix Suns to win 126-124 at the buzzer via Rudy Gay’s winning bucket. However, Pop wasn’t so happy with his team’s performances. While some of his players took to wild celebrations, he would summarily dismiss them by saying the Suns “got robbed” in a hastened 27 second press conference after the game. He talked about how the team was unprofessional in how they dealt with the Suns down the stretch, giving up the ball three times in the final five minutes and being all-around sloppy. They also didn’t shoot well, while the Suns did, which allowed the visitors back into it. It’s curious that this comes now, with the Spurs eight games above .500 now. Pop is clearly growing tired of the modern NBA, and even if they do finish well, is he going to stay on board?

In world sporting news, global superstar Neymar has once again officially been sidelined with an injury that will keep him out for an extended period of time. The Brazilian will not have to have surgery after getting injured last Wednesday, but he will still miss about 10 weeks of action with a right foot problem. The PSG star now will miss matches with Manchester United in the Champions League and could struggle to return even if they manage to make it deep in the tournament.

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