NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Even without Anthony Davis (illness) in the lineup, the Pelicans ended 2018 with a win over the Timberwolves, 123-114. It’s the first time this season New Orleans won a game without A.D. suiting up.
Elfrid Payton returned to the lineup for the first time since mid-November. The guard started for the Pels, and finished the contest with nine points and six assists. The Pelicans are now 6-1 this season when Payton suits up.
“I just thought we played hard. I thought we competed at a real high level, and then I thought we played with the best pace we’ve played with in a while. I think obviously having Elfrid (Payton) back in the lineup allowed Jrue (Holiday) to get out and run, and we were able to pitch the ball out ahead and do things like that. I thought we attacked and did a great job," said Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry.
“Yeah, I think the way he pushes the pace and gets to the basket; I don’t think he finished as well as he wanted to, but to be able to get there and make plays out of that was huge for us. Obviously, he had a lot of energy in his first game back in a long time. It was fun to have him out there,” said Jrue Holiday on having Payton back.
Julius Randle racked up the best stats on the night with 33 points and 11 rebounds. Darius Miller tied his career high by dropping in 21 points, including 5-of-8 on three-point shooting.
“My mentality never changes. I continue to be aggressive and play hard. My mindset has not changed at all. A.D. is our leader and we rely on him a lot, but us as players, we have to come prepared for all situations,” said Julius Randle.
New Orleans (17-21) hits the road to face the Brooklyn Nets on January 2nd.