Pelicans forward Anthony Davis finished fourth in the voting for NBA Defensive Player of the Year that was revealed on Thursday, earning 11 first-place votes. Davis finished eighth last season.
“I’m like any other coach, a little sore about it that he didn’t win it,” Pelicans coach Monty Williams said. “I’m sure (Clippers coach) Doc (Rivers) and (Golden State coach) Steve (Kerr) feel the same way. I’m amazed at how gifted he is on the defensive end and most people don’t take notice of that. How many guys can get eight or nine blocks in a game in a season the way he does… His ability to guard guards, bigs, small forwards is unlike any defensive player in the league.”
San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard won the award, becoming the first non-big man to win it since Ron Artest in 2004.
“Kawhi is unreal on defense,” Williams said. “We talk to our guys in the scouting report about his defensive attributes.”
Davis was one of three players among the top six vote-getters playing in the Smoothie King Center on Thursday night.
Golden State forward Draymond Green finished second and Warriors center Andrew Bogut finished sixth.
Green actually had more first place votes, but finished with 316 total points to Leonard’s 333. Players get five points for a first place vote, three for a second place vote and one for a third place vote.
Voting is done by 129 sportswriters and broadcasters.
Clippers forward DeAndre Jordan finished third ahead of Davis.
“You can’t argue if they had picked AD or DeAndre (Jordan) or Kawhi and I’m sure Golden State feels that Draymond or Bogut could have won it. We are all just whining a little bit.”
Holiday gets in
Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday checked into Thursday’s game with 3:34 of the first quarter, seeing his first action since Game 1.
Holiday missed Game 2, resting from a Holiday’s brother Justin Holiday said before the game that he preferred his brother didn’t play.
“I think he’s taking a chance and he’s not himself, doesn’t have his explosion,” said Justin Holiday.”
Monty on ousted OKC coach
Oklahoma City, which finished tied with the Pelicans for the eighth playoff spot (but lost on the tie breaker), fired head coach Scott Brooks on Wednesday.
Williams weighed in on the firing of Brooks, who spent seven seasons as coach of the Thunder and led the team to the NBA Finals in 2012.
“Anytime one of your colleagues goes down like that, you feel bad for him and his family,” Williams said. “It’s just a tough situation.”
Kerr hasn’t spent a lot of time watching the other playoff games and hadn’t put much thought into all of the series except one being 2-0 headed into Thursday night.
“If you had asked me last year when I was working for TNT, I would have had a 10 paragraph answer for you,” Kerr said. “But I have a new job, so I am not paying much attention to the other games.”
Kerr did take the time to watch San Antonio’s overtime win over the Clippers on Wednesday night.
“That’s high-level stuff,” he said.
Fans attending Thursday’s game were given red T-shirts that read “Play On Nola.”
The shirts were placed on the back of every seat in the arena, making it a sea of red in the Smoothi King Center. ... The hallways outside the Pelicans’ locker room was lined with posters done by local elementary students wishing the team. ... Grammy Award winner Irma Thomas, the Soul Queen of New Orleans, sang the national anthem for Thursday’s game.