The New Orleans’s dreams of making the postseason are but an afterthought at this point, but that didn’t stop their players from playing like there’s no tomorrow. In New Orleans’ 122-110 loss on Friday to the Portland Trailblazers, power forward Julius Randle scored a career-high 45 points along with 10 rebounds to give the home crowd something to cheer about even in defeat. SBNation’s Oleh Kosel shared an interesting comment on Twitter coming from Randle’s teammate, Elfrid Payton, during the post-game wrap-up:
Elfrid Payton had a good one too! When asked about Julius Randle going end-to-end successfully several times, Elf replied:
“You want to stand in front of him? It’s as simple as that. Full head of steam like that, you don’t want no smoke. I don’t know too many people that do.” https://t.co/EW7Qyx6KYW
— Oleh Kosel (@OlehKosel) March 16, 2019
Payton himself is having a fantastic stretch of late. Friday marked the third-straight game that the 22-year-old point guard notched a triple double, scoring 12 points, nabbing 12 boards and dishing out 16 dimes against the Blazers.
Payton’s 16 assists also marked a career-high for himself to complement Randle’s banner performance. After missing over half of the regular season with an injury, the former 10th-overall pick is finally living up to his hype once more.
As New Orleans continues to learn from its growing pains, it’s encouraging to witness some of the team’s younger players like Randle and Payton start to gel even better. The Pelicans’ loss on Friday will sting for a while, but the individual results coming from two of their cornerstone pieces is priceless nonetheless.
Turns out that Anthony Davis’ rest day had a silver lining to it after all. New Orleans got a good look at how the team will function in the event that Davis choses to leave the Big Easy. Based from Friday’s game, it appears that they’ll be just fine with the duo of Randle and Payton leading the charge instead.