Pelicans hold off Celtics behind Davis
BOSTON -- The New Orleans Pelicans pulled out a tough road win on Friday night, but much of the talk after the game centered around injured forward Ryan Anderson.
“We just tried to fight and win it for Ryan,” forward Anthony Davis said after his big fourth quarter helped his team battle to a 95-92 victory over the Boston Celtics. “When he went down, it’s tough. He loves to play the game, so we just tried to win it for him.”
Anderson was taken off the court on a stretcher, his neck in a brace, with 11:02 left after banging heads with Boston forward Gerald Wallace. Anderson, who had 13 points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes, was on his back on the floor for more than five minutes, with players from both teams gathered around him for much of the time. He was alert and talking the entire time.
Anderson was taken to a hospital and the report was he had suffered a cervical stinger.
“Right now we’re just concerned with Ryan and his condition,” said coach Monty Williams, who didn’t have many details. “We’re just praying for his health. He looked like he was OK. I was more worried for his mother. I know she’s at home, a nervous wreck, so hopefully she hears this message and she’s cool with the fact that he’s OK and he’s in good hands.”
Asked if the news sounded good, Williams said: “I‘m not quite sure. That’s what we’re praying for ... In any situation like that, you’re worried about the neck, the head. But he was lucid the whole time. He was talking to the doctors, the trainers, so that was a good sign. We just haven’t gotten any details as to how he feels right now.”
Wallace, the first Celtics player to go near Anderson as he was tended to, stood off to the side, with a towel in his mouth.
“I just wanted to make sure that he was fine,” Wallace said.
Anderson left to an ovation from the crowd.
Davis scored 10 of his 23 points and had five of his eight rebounds in the fourth quarter to lead the Pelicans (15-16) to only their fourth win in their last 10 games.
Boston, playing after the snowstorm kept them from getting in from Chicago until 1 p.m., led by two when Anderson left but Davis scored five straight points to put the Pelicans back in front. The Celtics, losing another close one at home, led 88-85 on a jumper by guard Jordan Crawford with 3:27 left but didn’t score another basket. Davis hit a lefty running hook to put his team ahead to stay with 1:41 left.
Boston, losers of six of its last seven to fall to 13-20, had a last-second chance to tie, but forward Jared Sullinger missed a 3-pointer.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens was asked after the game what the challenge is of keeping his team’s morale up in this adversity, and with a five-game western trip coming.
”Focusing on the right things, focusing on what you can control. Yeah, it’s frustrating, three one-point losses in the last three weeks.
“So that’s a hard thing to swallow, but at the same time it’s not like they’re lying down. They’re coming out and competing and tonight they had every excuse in the book if they wanted to use it, and they didn‘t.”
Guard Tyreke Evans came off the bench with 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists, center and former Celtic Greg Stiemsma scored a season-high 12 points, guards Eric Gordon and Brian Roberts had 12 and 11 points, respectively and the New Orleans bench totaled 52 points. Roberts nailed two clutch free throws with 6.4 seconds left.
The Celtics grabbed a season-high 22 offensive rebounds to stay in the game, nine by Sullinger, who had 13 points, and six each by forwards Brandon Bass and Kris Humphries. Bass had 16 points on 8-for-10 shooting) and 11 total rebounds, while guard Avery Bradley scored 22 points and forward Jeff Green 16.
Crawford had 11 assists, but was just 2-for-14 from the floor.
NOTES: Pelicans G Jrue Holiday suffered through a 2-for-11 shooting night and had four turnovers, but he also had five assists. ... New Orleans coach Monty Williams changed his starting lineup, bringing F Ryan Anderson off the bench. ... New Orleans was playing the second game of a four-game road trip, which continues in Indianapolis on Saturday and ends in Miami on Tuesday. .... The Celtics open their five-game western trip at Oklahoma City on Sunday night. ... Last year’s New Orleans visit saw rookie G Austin Rivers playing against his father’s team. But Doc Rivers is now coaching the Los Angeles Clippers, so the younger Rivers’ second visit was no big deal, and he didn’t play. ... The Pelicans came in with four players averaging over 15 points per game, the first time since 1992-93 that has happened.