Aussie Daniels crashes fellow Boomer’s party in Pelicans’ vital road win over Rockets
AFrom Toyota Center, Houston
Dyson Daniels has taken bragging rights over fellow Australian Jock Landale as New Orleans cruised to a comfortable 11-point win over Houston on the road, after leading at every quarter.
The Pelicans even did it without two key players with Zion Williams and Herb Jones, who were confirmed out hours before the game, providing a massive blow at both offensive and defensive ends off the floor.
The home side were coming off an impressive win against the Lakers, while New Orleans wanted to break a three game losing streak.
Daniels started the game after this week being selected in the player pool for the 2024 Panini Rising Stars tournament later in February. While Landale was listed on the bench for Houston, but did not make it onto the court.
After some scrappy play from both teams, the NOP guard scored the first points from beyond the three point line, then added another two minutes later when Jalen Green was called for goaltending.
He had added two assists in his first stint, sitting down after seven and a half minutes when he picked up his first foul.
Jalen Green turned it on for the home team, posting 13 first quarter points including an epic dunk following a Daniels turnover, but the visitors led by 33-25 at the quarter.
Houston’s shooting percentage hovered around the 40 per cent from the field during the first half as the lead at one point for New Orleans blew out into double figures in the second.
But it wasn’t the smoothest start for Daniels who missed a three and committed a turnover before he again headed for the bench.
Jalen Green had a massive 20 point first half for the Rockets, with some flashy dunks and a pair of three-pointers.
But one stat letting the team down was the rebounding, with New Orleans coming up with 25 first half boards to Houston’s 13, as the visitors led by seven at half time.
Jonas Valanciunas dominated with his height for the Pelicans, taking his rebounds to ten early in the third quarter; eight at the defensive end and two on offence.
Daniels added to his points tally midway through the third quarter as his aggression at both ends of the floor was yielding mixed results.
He was stopping baskets through his pressure in defence but his runs to the basket were just as easily stopped by the Rockets.
Houston closed the gap late in the third thanks to the shooting dominance from Jalen Green, who had 28 points by the final break and Cam Whitmore, who nearly broke the rim with his dunk – but the margin was still five points heading into the final quarter.
Daniels started the fourth like the other quarters going on the attack and was rewarded with an early basket, as the Pelicans blew out to a double-digit lead.
Jalen Green the top scorer on the floor for both teams hitting the 31-point mark in the final quarter, followed by New Orleans’ Valanciunas who posted 25 in addition to his game high 14 rebounds.
The team rebounds were stacked heavily in the Pelicans favour 56-29, while surprisingly steals went the way of Houston 12-4.
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Daniels played 24 minutes, finishing with nine points, two rebounds and three assists.
Landale did not see any court time, with the Rockets coaching staff using just five bench players.