Game On: Charlotte Bobcats at New Orleans Pelicans

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Published: November 2, 2013
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Over 86% of teams that start 0-2 fail to make the playoffs. Man, that is a sobering fact that should leave Pelicans dismayed and even give them permission to start to panic.

Wait, hold on a minute, what’s that? Oh, that is an NFL stat? 86% of NFL teams that start 0-2 fail to make the playoffs? Well, that makes sense because there are only 16 regular season games in that sport, while this sport has 82. Two NBA games is the equivalent of about a quarter of one NFL game. Huh, so then why are Pelicans fans freaking out about such a relatively small sample size?

Quick answer – I just don’t know.

Yes, last night’s Orlando game was frustrating, but it was still just one game after all. The team is 0-2, but the way they played on opening night was applause worthy, and quite honestly, would have been enough to beat Orlando. There was more good than bad in the Indiana game, and while there was plenty to shake your head about in the Orlando game, some of it was likely an aberration. Can we really expect Jason Smith, one of the games best mid-range shooters, to miss six wide open 17-footers again? How many games do you expect Tyreke Evans to go 0-7 or Eric Gordon to miss half of his free throws?

Yes, things are far from perfect right now, but the overreaction needs to stop. Monty Williams is not going anywhere, nor should he until he gets some real time to work with this newly constructed, young roster. He just signed a three-year extension, and oh yeah, WE ARE ONLY TWO GAMES INTO THE SEASON!

Okay, got that off my chest. Moving on, the Pelicans have a game with a suddenly frisky Bobcats team tonight. Charlotte is fresh off a 90-84 victory of the Cleveland Cavaliers after putting up an impressive fight against the Rockets in their opener. They seem to be much better defensively than in years past, as opponents are shooting just 41% against them on the season and are just 7-30 from three-point range. Both teams are playing their second game in two nights, and for the Pelicans to get their first win of the season, a couple of things must happen:

Keys to the Game

1.) Protect the Ball

Kemba Walker is averaging 3.5 steals per game on the young season, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is lightning quick when he jumps passing lanes. And surprisingly, Josh McRoberts has been very active as well, deflecting numerous passes to the interior. The Bobcats have been competitive this season because they keep their mistakes to a minimum while they simultaneously cause the opponent to take chances. The Pelicans need to avoid falling into the Bobcats trap to get this win tonight.

2. Win the Battle of the Boards

The Bobcats are -11 per game on the glass. They rank 26th in defensive rebound percentage and 27th in offensive rebound percentage. Bismack Biyombo and Michael Kidd- Gilchrist are far and away their best rebounders, but it is tough to keep them both on the court together because of how big of liabilities they are offensively. Instead, Cody Zeller, Al Jefferson, and Josh McRoberts are often down low for Charlotte and they have combined for a defensive rebound rate of right around 15% this season (that is Lopez-ish). The Pelicans bigs have to control the glass on both ends to ensure that they end this game with more possessions than Charlotte.

3. Push the Pace

The Bobcats want to play at a slow pace, limiting possessions so that you can’t expose their lack of talent offensively, as they rank 30th in offensive rating currently. Despite playing one of their two games with the uptempo Rockets, the Bobcats are 23rd in pace. In two games this year, the Bobcats have shot just 40.5% from the field, and when you combine that with the fact that they get so few offensive rebounds, they should be plenty of opportunities for the Pelicans to fly in this game.

6 comments
spatching3
spatching3

I'm just excited that we had a bandwagon for people to jump off, it's been a while...

kfte
kfte

Know legitimate fan would jump ship after two games. The Heat struggle themselves when the Big 3 first teamed up. The only  guarantee that I know is that we must replace Thomas and Stiemsma, immediately. Neither are NBA players O.A. willing to give him 5 more games.

dxxpxx
dxxpxx

there's still 80 more games. if yu wanna jump off the bandwagon go ahead but we don't want ya back when we make the playoffs

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

They can't play like garbage and expect fans to be content once expectations have been set that we will at least compete for a playoff berth.   Against a team that most pick to be at the bottom, we had 10 or 20 missed layups and putbacks,  at least a dozen glaring defensive breakdowns, our supposed upgrade at point guard abused by Jameer freaking Nelson, and Tyreke looking slower than my dead grandma with less leaping ability.   No heart, no fire, spotty effort, and a lack of skill. 

I don't want George Karl, but I'm not so sure I want Monty either.  They are still dribbling out the first 15 seconds of most shot clocks, which I blame on coaching.   Ninety points in each game sounds awfully familiar, and won't get it done.   Likewise, the poor defense seems to occur regardless of which players are on the court, so I have to look at the coach for that too.   

berlinhornets
berlinhornets

Man, I hope the Pels win tonight. The game will start when it is 1 am here in Berlin and I wanna see the first win of the New Orleans Pelicans that counts!

I agree with your article. The reaction probably stems from the fact that the second game was against Orlando. But hey, Miami is only one game better and lost against the Sixers (who are 2-0 by the way and they will not make the playoffs). Moreover, remember when the Hornets won like their first eight games and barely made the palyoffs?

I believe in this squad and assume that things will start to click sooner than later. And AD is a beast and soooo much fun to watch!

Geaux Pels

berlinhornets
berlinhornets

@NOEngineer To be honest, I agree with your points, but still don't wanna overreact. I give it ten games and then will make my judgment on Monty. The arguments by amin on the podcast about this not being a monty-team made me look for the pace and everything more and made me wary. I just hope it works out.