New Orleans forward Ryan Anderson had a monster game in the Pelicans’ 112-104 win over Oklahoma City on Tuesday, scoring 23 points and grabbing 11 rebounds off the bench. He also had two steals and one assist – but he finished without a block.
What’s up with that?
“I’ll let Anthony Davis do the blocks – and Omer (Asik),” Anderson said on Ferrall on the Bench, laughing. “Those guys protect the rim, man. “
Indeed, Davis (four) and Asik (two) combined for six of New Orleans’ 11 blocks. The Pelicans also had almost twice as many steals as the Thunder (13-7) and forced 17 turnovers.
“We’re just playing great basketball,” Anderson said. “I think when this team guards and when we run, we’re really tough to stop. For me, guys have been doing a great job of (grinding).”
They’ve also done a great job of scoring. Davis (25 points), Tyreke Evans (30), Jrue Holliday (16) and Anderson (23) combined for 94 points on 35-of-71 shooting (49.3 percent) Tuesday.
“When you have guys like Tyreke and Jrue and obviously Anthony (who) command so much attention, I know that there’s specific plays and certain moments where I’m just going to be wide open,” Anderson said. “I think that’s why we’re so dangerous. We have so many different weapons and so many different ways we can use those guys. This is a fun team to play for.”
It’s also an unselfish team. The Pelicans had 23 assists against the Thunder, including 10 by Holiday and five by Evans.
“Tyreke can get to the basket at will,” Anderson said. “Not a lot of guys can do that. He’s a special player. Like I said earlier, when he commands so much attention going to the rim, he’s been doing a great job finding guys, too. He’s just such an overwhelming offensive guy. He can really do so many things. Having him playing so well, it’s just great to see. When this team is clicking, this is one of the best teams I’ve played on. We just need to continue to play hard and play great defense and run. This is a team that can really run the ball.”
New Orleans (8-8) is 14th in the league in scoring offense (101.2 points per game) and 13th in scoring defense (99.1). It limited the Thunder to 44 percent shooting from the floor and absolutely bottled up Russell Westbrook, who had 21 points on 6-of-20 shooting.
“That’s what this team can do,” Anderson said. “When we play great defense, we have so many different ways we can score on the other end. It’s all about how well we can play defense as a group and as a team. And obviously having Omer and Anthony down by the basket to protect gives us a lot of confidence. Tonight was just a great all-around game for us. Defensively, we had a great night.”
The Pelicans hope to take their defensive show on the road, as they face the Warriors (15-2), Clippers (12-5) and Lakers (5-13) on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively.