The New Orleans Pelicans looked like sure winners Thursday night when they entered the fourth quarter against Golden State with a 20-point lead in Game 3 of their Western Conference opening-round playoff series.
Heck, the Warriors had never won after trailing by 20 points entering the fourth quarter in 358 previous games during the shot-clock era, according to the Associated Press.
Most of the credit for the comeback rightfully goes to Stephen Curry, who scored 17 of his game-high 40 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
But no team should lose a game after taking a 20-point lead into the fourth.
It truly takes a team effort to be outscored 39-19 in the final quarter of a must-win playoff game, but was Pelicans point guard Tyreke Evans the biggest culprit, as some radio talk-show types proclaimed Friday morning?
Evans, the Rookie of the Year for the Kings after being selected fourth in the 2009 NBA draft, had a fine game, statistically (19 points, eight assists). But in the fourth quarter, he had two shots blocked, missed a three-pointer and a layup, and had no assists – though he did have two in overtime.
In the first six minutes of the fourth quarter, Ryan Anderson, who scored 26 points for the Pelicans, made all three of his shots and both free throws. He had just one shot the rest of the quarter and just one in overtime.
Anthony Davis, who had a team-high 29 points, took just five shots – and made two – in the fourth quarter and overtime.
As the point guard, was Evans most at fault for failing to get the ball to Anderson and Davis when it mattered most?
You can’t blame one player for such a colossal collapse, but we’ll keep a close eye on Evans if Saturday’s Game 4 goes to the wire again.
What to watch
NBA playoffs, Golden State at New Orleans,
5 p.m., ESPN: Look for Steph Curry and the Warriors to sweep.
Trending on Twitter
#DubNation: The Warriors’ incredible comeback had the Internet buzzing.
On this date
1995: Major league baseball returns after a 257-day players’ strike as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Florida Marlins 8-7.