Herb Jones was an absolute menace last night as the New Orleans Pelicans authored a rollicking and conversation-changing victory over the Phoenix Suns. Along with fellow rookie Jose Alvarado, the tenacious defender was all over the court, flying around like the Rocketeer and frustrating the No. 1 seed in the West to the point of distraction. Chris Paul was particularly affected by the intensity and struggled to four points and some lingering humiliation.
There's a very good argument that this is the best mode of attack against the future Hall of Fame point guard. You don't wait to get destroyed by the veteran guile and victimized by his many tricks of the trade. Bringing the fight to him and letting him know that you're willing to become The Joker in order to win a series totally changes his mindset.
Jones and Alvarado, in addition to their on-court play, where not afraid to engage in gamesmanship and trash-talking. The most memorable moment came with the outcome already decided when Paul tried to show some sportsmanship and help Jones up off the floor. Jones acted like Paul was invisible and waited for his own teammates to yank him up.
Reggie Miller, who was fantastic on the call with Kevin Harlan for TNT, absolutely loved it. And you know he loved it because these are the types of noises made only in the height of joy.
"Oh! Now. Yes!" Miller exclaimed. "The game is on. That's ballin'."
Four out of five ballologists agree that it was, in fact, ballin'.
Game 5 is going to be an absolute zoo and Miller's excitement looking forward to the pivotal night was palpable. He and Harlan are the perfect duo to call this series because it feels like a WWE match and there's a tremendous kinetic energy to it. They do a great job matching the moment and giving into the madness. And is it just me or is it getting crazier out there?