New Orleans Pelicans closes out the year with a victory

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The New Orleans Pelicans got a much needed win to close out the year as they defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 123-114.

The New Orleans Pelicans received some bad news right before tipoff as they announced superstar forward Anthony Davis would not play due to an illness. However, they were happy to announce Elfrid Payton would be in the starting lineup after missing approximately six weeks due to a fractured pinkie finger on his left hand.

Key stat of the game…

56%. The Pelicans have been much maligned from the three-point line this season. As a team, the Pels were shooting 34.7% heading into Monday’s game. That was only good for 21st in the league. The Pelicans were on fire behind the line led by Darius Miller (more on him in a second) and saw six Pelican players knocked at least one three-pointer down.

It was over when…

This one went down to wire as the Pelicans played another “clutch” game. They were 6-13 before tonight’s game when the game was at least five points with under five minutes to go. The Pelicans were able to maintain their slim lead after a strong push by Minnesota down the stretch.

Miller was able to hit a three-pointer followed by a mid range shot with under two to go. After a couple of defensive stops, Jrue Holiday was fouled and subsequently Karl-Anthony Towns was called for a technical foul. Jrue hit all three free throws to push the led to eight with under 40 seconds to play.

Next: Elfrid Payton returns to lineup

Player of the game…

It takes many contributions for the Pelicans to win a game without Anthony Davis. None was bigger than what Darius Miller provided as he tied a career high with 21 points off the bench. He was especially lethal from downtown as he shot 5-8 behind the line. He was 7-11 overall from the field and was huge in the fourth quarter as he scored 13 points including a few key baskets down the stretch.

The New Orleans Pelicans head out on the road as they take on the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday.

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