TODAY’S ZAMAN – Evans, mer lead Pelicans to comeback win over Grizzlies

Evans, mer lead Pelicans to comeback win over GrizzliesThe Pelicans thought Tyreke Evans was being unselfish to a fault, and they told him so at halftime as they pondered how to overcome a double-digit deficit against one of the best teams in the NBA.So Evans starting driving hard to the basket, staggering the Memphis Grizzlies into their worst collapse of the season.

Evans scored 26 points, putting up nearly flawless second-half numbers of 15 points, five assists and no turnovers, and New Orleans rallied from 18 points down to beat Memphis 95-89 on Saturday night.Turkish center mer AIik grabbed 11 rebounds for the Pelicans, including one after Evansand#39 missed free throw with 9 seconds left.

andldquoCoach [Monty Williams] told me to start being aggressive and thatand#39s when I looked for my lanes and started attacking the basket,andrdquo Evans said. andldquoI just thought it was time to take overandrdquoAnthony Davis had 23 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks for New Orleans, and said Evansand#39 halftime adjustment changed everything.

In the first half, Davis said, Evans andldquowas trying to drive and find guys and wasnand#39t as aggressive as he usually is, and it kind of messed him up and messed other guys up.andrdquoandldquoI told him coming out of halftime — and Coach said it — andlsquoEven though I told you guys to play together, donand#39t let that take away from what you do,andrdquo Davis recalled.

andldquoSo he went back to [being] Tyreke, attacking the basket, making layups and it opened it up for everybody else.andrdquoMemphis coach David Joerger was in no mood to explain what happened to his team, which had not previously blown a lead larger than 14 points this season.

As he stepped into the hallway outside the visitorand#39s locker room, he asked if there were questions, but then walked back into the locker room without comment before reporters could get a word out.andldquoIf we want to be a good team, a championship team, we canand#39t play like that,andrdquo Memphis forward Zach Randolp said.

andldquoWeand#39re still learning, still got a lot of work to do.andrdquoThe Grizzlies were close down the stretch, but the Pelicans made the clutch plays to win for the seventh time in nine games and pull a half-game behind Oklahoma City for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Eric Gordon scored 16 points, including two free throws with 24.5 seconds left.

Norris Cole added 12 points and his defense forced Mike Conley into an air ball on a 3-point attempt with 11 seconds left.Jeff Green had 20 points for Memphis, but missed a free throw with 26.

5 seconds left. Conley had 17 points and Beno Udrih 11 for the Grizzlies, who hurt themselves with 10 missed free throws.

Down by 12 at halftime, the Pelicans surged in front by outscoring Memphis 33-17 in the third quarter Evans, who hit two driving layups during a 7-0 run to open the period, scored 12 during the quarter Davis added 10 points in the period on 5-of-7 shooting. New Orleans held Memphis to 30.

8 percent (4 for 13) in the quarterandldquoIt was a growth moment for us,andrdquo Cole said. andldquoWe understood that we dug ourselves into a hole, but we didnand#39t try to make any hero plays.

We took it one possession at a time, defended well, got the rebounds and executed offensively.andrdquoNew Orleans tied it on Gordonand#39s bank shot as he was fouled, then took their first lead on Gordonand#39s 3 soon afterThe Grizzlies regained their composure and even briefly regained the lead when Udrihand#39s jumper made it 78-77 with 7:20 to go.

Other NBA results: Philadelphia 92, Atlanta 84 Miami 114, Sacramento 109, OT Cleveland 89, Phoenix 79 Indiana 92, New York 86 Minnesota 121, Portland 113 Milwaukee 91, Washington 85 and Houston 114, Denver 100.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman