There’s no way around it: The New Orleans Pelicans need a healthy roster in order to spring a massive upset on the Golden State Warriors in the 2015 NBA playoffs.
However, swingman Tyreke Evans sustained a knee injury during Game 1 of the Western Conference series, leaving the bout with a single point and one rebound in 12 minutes of action. His status was uncertain following the outing.
Sunday afternoon, Antonio Gonzalez of the Associated Press provided an update on Evans:
Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans says MRI on his left knee showed a deep bone bruise. He's a game-time decision for Game 2.
— Antonio Gonzalez (@ByAntonioG) April 19, 2015
Evans being a game-time decision isn’t tremendous news, but it’s a heckuva lot better than the 25-year-old being ruled out.
Behind 22-year-old phenom Anthony Davis, Evans is the most important offensive weapon on the Pelicans’ roster. He tallied 16.6 points, 6.6 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per outing during the regular season.
Most importantly, Evans offers an ability to attack the rim unmatched by Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon and Norris Cole. When Evans is sidelined, the Warriors’ perimeter defenders can worry less about lane penetration and focus on shutting down the three-point shot.
But when Evans is on the court, the Pelicans’ offensive unit is markedly more dangerous, since opponents cannot shift more attention to Davis. Evans demands extra help when he reaches the lane, which creates open looks for Davis, Omer Asik or long-distance threats.
Davis can carry the Pelicans up the mountain, but he needs Evans to put New Orleans over the top.
Photo: USA Today Sports