Rockets, James Harden (on fire) beat Pelicans 122-116 in The Crescent City on Veteran's Appreciation Night
By Emmanuel Rivera, RRT
Thu, 14 Nov 2019
New Orleans, Louisiana, November 11, 2019 -- On Veteran’s Appreciation Night at the Smoothie King Center, six lead changes, copious bilateral turnovers, missed 3’s galore and a technical foul against fiery Pelicans coach Al Gentry (for interference) make for an interesting basketball game near the Louisiana Bayou with 16,695 in attendance.
The New Orleans Pelicans, with their motto “WON’T BACK DOWN” emblazoned all over, came into Monday night’s game against the Houston Rockets inspired by the city on a comeback trail spawned by Hurricane Katrina back in August 2005.
The Pels, as the locals call them, grinded ‘til the final buzzer but fell short by six points, their efforts not enough to douse the offensive fireball Houston Rockets.
Considering the Rockets’ recent winning ways, Pels Coach Al Gentry could have used the NOFD—New Orleans Fire Department—for assistance.
For the Rockets, the league’s top scorer James Harden helped extend the Houston’s win-streak to four and improved their record to 7-3.
Harden authored 39 points, 16 of those in the fourth quarter to secure the win. A thing of beauty was his four-point play in the mid-fourth quarter as he was fouled by Hart while shooting a 3 beyond the arc.
Rockets’ Russell Westbrook controlled both sides of the court scoring 26 points along with Clint Capela who made 11 points and 20 rebounds.
The Pelicans sorely missed Brandon Ingram who was out due a bruised knee. Stepping up were JJ Redick who had 24 points, Josh Hart 19, and Jrue Holiday 18 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds.
The Pelicans did not overcome 12 first-half turnovers —six by Holiday in the first half alone —and 29% shooting from 3-point range in the fourth quarter.
aid coach Alvin Gentry, “We've just got to start valuing the basketball and we've got to stop making the bad turnover. You shoot 45 threes -- you've got to make more than 14 of them."
The Houston Rockets led 95-82 early in the fourth quarter on Westbrook's dunk.
The Pelicans pulled to 97-93 on a four-point play by JJ Redick.
Then in the fourth quarter, James Harden took control with his 16-point outburst.
Big-time NBA basketball now ranks up to the NOLA’s rich tradition in sports—professional golf, collegiate and professional football, and World Championship Boxing.
In golf, PGA’s Zurich classic, established 81 years ago, comes to town annually at TPC Louisiana.
The Bayou Classic is an ongoing collegiate football tradition. Last Saturday, according to The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate (est. 1837) and The New York Times collectively summarized that “Louisiana State University finally solved the Alabama puzzle and ended an eight-game losing streak to the Crimson Tide, thereby, putting itself in the driver’s seat for the College Football Playoff.”
The New Orleans Saints, NFL football’s one-time super bowl champions, play at the building adjacent to Smoothie King Center.
The arena, ‘formerly known as Louisiana Superdome’, is now called Mercedes Benz Superdome and
was the site of 2 famous title fights.
Since we are, after all, on PhilBoxing.com, the #1 boxing, basketball, chess, sports and culture site emanating from the Philippines by way of Mr. Dong Secuya in Cebu, let’s include championship boxing.
Muhammad Ali-Leon Spinks 2 was held here on September 15, 1978 for WBA/The Ring/Lineal Heavyweight Championships estimated to have been watched by a record 2 billion viewers worldwide in over 80 nations.
Muhammad Ali methodically broke down a flailing Leon Spinks with hooks, jabs and counters en route to becoming the first three-time heavyweight champion. The Associated Press scored the fight 12-3 for Ali, while the three judges had the bout 11-4, 10-4-1 and 10-4-1 all in favor of Ali giving him a unanimous decision win.
Sugar Ray Leonard-Roberto Duran (2), the second of their trilogy for the WBC Welterweight championship, took place at the Louisiana Superdome on November 25,1980. The infamous fight gained its name from the moment at the end of the eighth round when Durán turned away from Leonard towards the referee and quit by apparently saying, "No más"...
Indeed, The Big Easy is back.
Notes: Special thanks to the New Orleans Pelicans liaisons Mr. Louis Tenedorio (who offered courtside seats) and Brett Spansel, Loyola University (who took my word as PhilBoxing’s representative just by checking Mr. Secuya’s site). I opted for the “war room” press box complete with CCTV, electronic & hard copy quarterly sheets, WiFi and a great view. The spread featured etouffee and blackened chicken (an epicurean delight for the media). The old Cajun-French-Spanish traditional gift called LAGNIAPPE (pronounced Lan’yap) lives on with the NOLA PELICANS.
And to Kuya Dong Secuya and my friends at PhilBoxing.com and PinoyGreats.com for helping me check a box on my bucket list… Salamat (Thank you).
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