The biggest casualty of the Anthony Davis exodus may well be his poor sidekick Jrue Holiday, who is playing his proud butt off this season, as he generally does. Unless he too can engineer an escape from New Orleans, one of the NBA’s best two-way guards is going to have to make do with LeBron’s beard trimmings and nail clippings, which is a real bummer.
Holiday had 19 points, eight assists, and six rebounds last night in the Pelicans’ unlikely, undermanned victory, but most satisfying is what he did against James Harden. Harden’s always going to get his points on sheer volume, and he got 37 last night; the most you can do is make his experience miserable, which is exactly what Holiday did. Harden shot 11 of 32 from the field and went -5 in one of his worst shooting nights of the season; he shot just 4-of-15 when Holiday was credited as the defender dogging him. Holiday also logged a career-high six blocks, palming away multiple supposedly unguardable shots from Harden in the process.
The usual side-step couldn’t shake him:
Dumping it off to P.J. Tucker wasn’t a good idea if Jrue and his second leap were there to snuff it out:
Harden’s signature step-back wasn’t safe either:
And here is a gratifying get-that-shit-out-of-here slap off the backboard while Harden thought he had the step on Jrue:
Across their three matchups this season, Harden is shooting just 30 percent from the field with Holiday draped all over him, making him one of the league’s most effective Beard-stoppers. The Pelicans have a genuine answer to the game’s most potent offensive weapon. They have the 2-1 edge in the season series. They’re also 12th in the West, and publicly unraveling, so it’s a shame none of that will really matter much for much longer.