New Orleans Pelicans Grades: Pels Beat Grizzlies Behind Boogie

Mar 21, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins (0) celebrates after scoring and drawing foul during the fourth quarter of a game against the Memphis Grizzlies at the Smoothie King Center. The Pelicans defeated the Grizzlies 95-82. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 21, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins (0) celebrates after scoring and drawing foul during the fourth quarter of a game against the Memphis Grizzlies at the Smoothie King Center. The Pelicans defeated the Grizzlies 95-82. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Pelicans took down the Memphis Grizzlies at home, behind a massive 41-point performance from big man DeMarcus Cousins.

Every win has to feel like a ray of hope for New Orleans Pelicans fans.

If so, tonight’s ray of hope must have been quite a big one.

After trailing by seven at halftime and by 10 early into the third quarter, New Orleans went on a 21-0 run in the third quarter. They would not lose control of the game the rest of the way. The Pelicans took down a tough, physical Grizzlies team 95-82.

Things looked grim for the Pelicans in the first half. New Orleans shot just 28.6 percent from the field and scored just 34 points in the first 24 minutes. DeMarcus Cousins accounted for 16 of those points.

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However, the second half became a different story. After two minutes, the Grizzlies increased their lead by three points. The Pels scored just two points in the first two minutes of the third quarter. The final 10 minutes of the third saw New Orleans score 30 points alone. Their 32-13 edge in that frame gave them a 12-point lead heading into the fourth.

While Memphis’ three-point shooting got them close, the Pelicans would not relinquish the lead. Mostly, due to DeMarcus Cousins’ dominance. Boogie finished with a massive 41 points on 14-27 shooting and 8-9 on free throws. He would also put up 17 rebounds, three blocks and two steals.

Mike Conley led the scoring for Memphis, with 16 points, six rebounds and three assists.

One of the areas New Orleans took over in this game was the offensive glass. The Pelicans finished the game with 12 offensive rebounds, seven more than their counterparts. In general, this was a game the Pelicans found a hot streak on, played defense well enough to force tough looks and held their ground against a valiant comeback.

82. 211. 95. 69. Final

B-. This was, just like Jrue, a game of non-offensive skills for Tim Frazier. Tim shot just 0-3 from the field and did not seem ready to attack a stifling Grizzlies defense. However, his own defense made big plays tonight. Frazier finished with three steals and helped contest Memphis’ shooters. A big reason the starting guards for the Grizz finished 2-12 from behind the arc. It’s not a stellar game from Tim, but he does seem to be the best fit the Pels have next to Jrue in the starting lineup.. PG. . TIM FRAZIER

JRUE HOLIDAY. B. Jrue Holiday still does not look like the offensive weapon he has been in the past. Still, he found a way to make an impact tonight. Even with his 5-17 shooting, Jrue played incredible defense on Mike Conley. Conley would only shoot 6-14 in this contest, which helped New Orleans stave off a comeback. This is a game where Jrue’s non-scoring arsenal pays off. His six assists helped keep the offense moving and his aggressiveness did keep the defense honest. Also, Jrue almost ended the life of James Ennis on a poster dunk attempt that came inches from going down. Would have been a highlight reeler for sure if it fell.. SG/PG.

C. Solomon Hill has returned to earth. Hill finished the game with five points on 1-7 shooting and five rebounds. His defense was good tonight, yes. However, this team could really benefit from him making his looks. That first half drought could have been a better survival for New Orleans if Solomon found other ways to score. His drives were not working and his long-range game was not on. He disappeared offensively once he realized that. Hill needs to find more ways to score the ball this offseason, to have better adaptation for tougher defenses and cold shooting nights.. SF. . SOLOMON HILL

B. Anthony Davis had one of the quietest 19 point, 13 rebound performances of his life. Davis shot 9-18 from the field and really got going in the fourth quarter, as he played second fiddle to Boogie tonight. Davis’ dominance was on the glass and his three offensive rebounds did play a massive part in this game. Sometimes, being a tall defender with the threat of blocking a shot is just as good as getting the block. Between him and Cousins, it became a gauntlet in the paint for Memphis’ offense. Their lackluster 82 points is evidence of that.. PF. . ANTHONY DAVIS

. DEMARCUS COUSINS. A+. Why Hello There DeMarcus Cousins! What a monster game for a man who wants to prove he can be a key piece on a winning team. Boogie finished with a 41-point night, his highest scoring effort as a Pelican. More so, he finished with 17 rebounds, four offensive rebounds and three blocks. Not only did he dominate the paint on offense, but on defense as well. That going against one of if not the best offensive center in the game in Marc Gasol. Tough to say Gasol’s the best, though, with how DeMarcus showed his dribble game and touch at the rim. He also made five three-pointers, one away from a career high in long-range makes. His offensive game was there in every facet tonight. Amazing performance.. C

Jordan Crawford is a man who gets buckets, no matter the obstacle. Once again, Craw finished in double-digit scoring, with 10 points on 3-5 shooting. His defense did not look strong tonight and he did seem like he was forcing things at times. Three fouls, two turnovers and zero assists shows the need for Jordan to expand his game, in order to keep playing a bigger role. Still, the Pelicans need scoring, to survive their droughts. Crawford can bring that and more. Tonight was a night Jordan took the backseat, to let DeMarcus and A.D. take over instead.. SG. . JORDAN CRAWFORD. B-

. E'TWAUN MOORE. B. E’Twaun Moore is the guy who gives it his all, yet the stat sheet fails to do it justice. His fight on Memphis’ shooters was strong and helped the Pelicans force the Grizzlies to shoot 9-35 from behind the arc. That was massive, especially since the Grizzlies not named Troy Daniels finished 5-27 from deep. Moore helped that and guarded whoever the Pels needed him to. That adaptability, along with seven points off the bench, is a big contribution to New Orleans. He brings it every game.. SF/SG

C+. It’s tough to judge Alexis Ajinca in this game. Yes, he finished the game 0-3 and gave up some tough points in the paint. Even with his size, he’s not physically built to go toe-to-toe with the Marc Gasol’s of the league. Still, his 14 minutes needed to be strong, with Cousins in foul trouble during the third quarter. Ajinca delivered on the glass, with nine rebounds and three offensive rebounds. That stat alone, against a tough frontcourt in Memphis, gave New Orleans enough to keep the good times going in this game. Good on Ajinca for that.. C. . ALEXIS AJINCA

C/PF. . DONATAS MOTIEJUNAS. INC. The sad truth is Donatas Motiejunas has fallen out of the rotation. Alexis Ajinca came up and won his spot back from him. While Donuts’ ability to make threes and post-up can be effective, it is not consistent enough to outweigh the strengths of Ajinca. His weak interior defense and poor rebounding is also a growing issue of late. His meager five minutes were not great tonight.

Final Thoughts:

  • To put is simply, this is a massive win for the slim playoff hopes. New Orleans is hitting the toughest part of their schedule. Getting in a groove is a must. If they were going to make a statement to the league and to Boogie, this was the game. Credit this coaching staff and their players for not giving up.
  • One of the biggest thumbs up has to go to the crowd at the Smoothie King Center. After Boogie picked up his fourth foul, he was subbed out. This was after putting on an offensive explosion, to help New Orleans get control. The crowd gave him a great cheer and many stood up as he headed to the bench. This city NEEDS to keep showing DeMarcus that he is appreciated for his effort and performances. Boogie’s a star player, but he’s also human. For how he played tonight, he deserves plenty of standing ovations going forward at home.

Next: The New Orleans Pelicans' Playoff Push and What It Means Long Term

The New Orleans Pelicans will not be home Friday night, as they head to Houston to face off against their division rivals in the Rockets. Tip-off is on schedule for 7:00 p.m. CST.