Pelicans continue to be destroyed by stretch forwards

By:
Published: November 5, 2013
Brian Roberts

Last season, the then Hornets had a habit of being destroyed by sweet-shooting big men as they followed an aggressive pack-the-paint scheme.  That scheme is still in effect, though not as aggressive – but it resulted tonight in much the same thing as last year defensively.  The Suns simply put five guys on the floor who could shoot, penetrated, and as soon as the Pelicans collapsed a little, found the most open shooter and let fly.  The Morris brothers and Gerald Green started hitting in the second quarter, and they really got going in the third.  Once those deep shots went down, the Pelicans had to honor the shooters – and that opened up pick and roll attacks through the middle.

Defense is the problem.  It was the problem last year – it is the problem this year.  Admittedly, the Pelicans are capable of some absolutely spectacular defensive plays in the form of steals and blocks, but their fundamentals and communication are killing them.

Observations:

  • There is no bigger boom or bust player in the league than Eric Bledsoe.  Jrue actually did a good job on him – but with Bledsoe either you cut him off from getting his head of steam, or you watch him score.  Holiday did a solid job pressuring him into a lot of mistakes, but when he got beat, bad things happened.
  • Of course, the opposite is true too.   Bledsoe kept him from getting his own shot going with tight defense – but when Holiday got free, he generally broke down the Suns and generated nice shots for other players on the team.
  • The Pelicans stopped attacking the rim as the game went on and they ended up getting into a jump-shooting contest.  They aren’t going to win those sorts of contests when they shoot long twos and the other team is shooting threes.
  • I’m sick of fast breaks that involve exactly zero passing.  Run the break the right way, guys.
  • Tyreke Evans continues to struggle on both ends of the court.  His role is right, but his finishing touch around the rim is still not there.
  • Anthony Davis had his worst game of the season – and was still really good, posting 17 and 11 and 5.  He looked kinda pissed off out there that they were losing the game.  Good.
  • With Bledsoe focusing on Holiday/Gordon and Tucker sticking to Morrow or Evans, Roberts was carving up that Phoenix defense.  Honestly, with out him this was a laugher.

Pelicans are 1-3.  They need to start figuring out that defense, or the new NBA and it’s three point specialists are going to bury them.

36 comments
Ddiamondd
Ddiamondd

I get that Roberts fits next to Evans, but why is he playing big minutes down the stretch? The defense was a sieve at the end of the game. Though Jrue had a very rough night, I think that our starters, or for a little more firepower, a lineup of Jrue, EG, Morrow, AFA, and AD, could score enough and be good enough on D to pull out a win. Subbing in Aminu for B-Rob could at least help with getting some stops, contesting 3s, forcing turnovers, getting rebounds and getting out on the break for easy points. It's still early,but I've seen some trends that need to be improved upon immediately, namely a general sense of not giving a crap during portions of games.

Major504
Major504

Morrow and Roberts got too many mins last night. And neither or half descent defenders all offense. On offense Roberts is fine but Morrow finds a spot and stays there, no movement at all. C'mon man! Just move.

LaNative
LaNative

It was a bad loss.  It was ugly.  I know we're better but something is not translating.  Whatever the problems are, they should be addressed quickly.  I'm tired of seeing them make these "last minute" pushes in the fourth quarter when that's the way they should be the entire game.  Tonight against Memphis, you should expect to see them looking like "deer's in headlights" but against Phoenix it shouldn't have been that way. 

lsucpolk
lsucpolk

Why do all these guys suddenly get on fire from behind the three point line when they play the Pelicans?  The personnel has changed, so obviously that is no longer an excuse.  And if the same thing is happening with better players....  What conclusion can we come to?   This was a bad loss.  Anybody who tries to sugar coat this one is putting lipstick on a pig.

Singular
Singular

If we did get rid of Monty, Stan Van Gundy and Lionel Hollins would be good choices.  Both have taken teams multiple rounds in the playoffs.  Stan Van has done it 3 times, Hollins did it last year.  If I had to pick between the two, I'd go for Stan Van because I think he's a little bit more creative offensively, is a little more new school in terms of understanding the modern NBA, is one of the handful of coaches who has coached in the finals, and has led multiple teams on legitimate playoff runs where they won MULTIPLE series. 

Hollins is old school, but he definitely has the experience of taking a young team in a franchise that lacks a history/culture of success and leading them to being a relevant playoff team.  The Pelicans are soft and the Hornets were the past two years - Hollins would definitely solve that problem.  Additionally, he has experience in our division and knows the weaknesses of our most frequent opponents.

In the end, I side with Stan Van because his ceiling is higher, but Hollins would still be a great choice.

It's not too often that you have proven coaches of that ilk sitting at home and available, so if the Pelicans are going to make a change, I say do it sooner rather than later.

Papa Pelican
Papa Pelican

The PelicAnts are tank tank tank tank tank tank tank tank tank tanking for Wiggins

WesleySwinnen
WesleySwinnen

This team needs to continue to attack the basket. It was gross watching all those jump shots at the end of the game when they were so affective early attacking. 

Caffeinedisaster
Caffeinedisaster

Best part of the game was the Jason dunk block followed by Davis dunk block and jumpball resulting in winning the possession.

Caffeinedisaster
Caffeinedisaster

They have yet to figure out that the game of basketball has TWO HALVES!!!

nolahog
nolahog

Roberts may have been able to score points, but his defense SUCKED.  5 minutes left in the fourth quarter, and Bledsoe repeatedly blew past him to score or pass when all we needed was 2 or 3 stops to tie up the game.  I know it sounds crazy, but why not give Rivers a chance if his on the ball defense is supposed to be so tenacious?

This loss was sickening. . . but not as sick as those emasculating back to back Davis blocks against the Morris twins!

504ever
504ever

Where were all of the "fire Monty" guys when he started the prior seasons with great records?  What's different this year?  How about a revamped and young roster?  And you don't fire a coach this early when he gets handed such a revamped and youthful roster.  

The Suns nearly beat OKC and are much better than expected.  The Knicks have the same record as we do and just lost to the Bobcats, all with a veteran team lead by Carmelo.  Perspective please.

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

With Monty teams, no lead is safe.  In-game adjustments always seem to favor the opponent.  Shot selection has been documented to be poor for multiple seasons, and is not improving even when we have players supposedly capable of finishing at the rim and shooting 3-pointers.   That makes minute allocation difficult, since efficiency is a matter of luck, based on good shooting of "bad" shots for that game.   On defense, we are playing average to excellent individually at times, but poorly as a team most of the time.  The other teams seem faster, equipped with a better plan, and more decisive.   With the exception of Evans our team seems in good physical shape, but their minds seem to wear out after about 18 minutes.  Evans needs to have his minutes cut drastically until he can run and elevate.   Right now he reminds me of Baron Davis at the end of his Hornets career.

Monty's seat may be getting warmer, but none of the gentlemen mentioned so far should fill it should fill it.  Not a fan of in-season coaching changes, and I'd rather have another unproven but promising assistant than a retread with known inability to build a team that can win in the playoffs.     

Aussie Pels Fan
Aussie Pels Fan

Apart from AD the team had absolutely no energy. Half the time it just looks like the rest of the squad is just going through the motions. I disagree I think the offence looks just as ugly as the defence at times. The buckets would come far easier if we knew how to play on the break. Down the stretch we really down know how to play in the flow of the game. We get in a half court set and someone try's to create for themselves and forces up something average

Feeling a little frustrated after this one.

I'm not going to jump to the conclusion that monty needs to get the boot but man it would be nice to have someone proven like George Karl

Hoping the team comes out hard against the grizz tomorrow....

Pierre24
Pierre24

I will not go to another game unless Monty Williams is fired. He is absolutely clueless. Get del negro, Avery Johnson, George Karl, or Pierre the pelican to coach this squad.

AngryCookies
AngryCookies

A Classic Monty Williams coached game smfh

zlwool
zlwool

An observation -- it seemed like we just stopped trying to penetrate in the 3rd and 4th quarters and shot jumpers.  When we did get into the lane, we jacked up terrible shots, rather than passing.

Gordon has GOT to learn to pass on the fast break.  He dribbled up on the break a few times tonight and jacked up a shot, rather than dumping off to the man running with him.  Roberts had one where he just pulled up and missed a shot half way down the lane.

Another observation - was interesting to see that Morrow and Roberts were in at the end of the 4th (I can understand Roberts; he wasn't missing much).  I would have expected Tyreke to be in.  He was the 7th or 8th man to come in tonight.  

Frustration!

Major504
Major504

@nolahog I agree with u as well, Roberts is all offense. And rivers is a much better defender. I hope they are just showing Roberts off, so they can trade him SOON. I like his game and all but if this is a defensive we aint cutting it

504ever
504ever

@nolahog Who didn't Bledsoe blow by?  And Roberts had 2 steals while playing with/against the 1st team.

Jason Quigley
Jason Quigley

@504ever The Knicks also lost Tyson Chandler early in the game and haven't had J.R. Smith for any game so far. So we're as good as the Knicks without two of their best players? 

Larry Lemoine
Larry Lemoine

@504ever The Suns have 10 news faces on their team this year and it hasn't affect their start.

fixthefreakingpotholes
fixthefreakingpotholes

@504ever What you say is true, but at the same time you got to admit there are some troubling consistencies in the Hornets/Pelicans play during the Williams' tenure, especially post CP3.  Actually, worse then consistencies, because of a lot of this has gotten worse each successive year.  Lack of perimeter defense; vulnerability to big men who can fill it up from outside; terrible communication on both sides of the floor; break-down in concentration and focus at key times in the game; lack of 3Q performance, which is almost always, across sports, the sign of bad coaching where adjustments are not being made at halftime.  I say let Monty coach out this year, but if the team is still floundering at the end of the year, fire him.  At some point there simply has to be signs of improvement or the fan base will wither and players, starting with AD, will question the direction of the franchise.  Monty has to be accountable, at some point we have to start at least asking, if not saying, the emperor has no clothes

Major504
Major504

@Aussie Pels Fan Its not Monty's fault they stop driving and setting for jumpshots. When this team attacks they build 10+ pts leads, and we they shoot jumpshots they lose. We have the tools but they put them up after the 1st qtr.

mateor
mateor

@Pierre24 OMG you are not serious with del negro or avery I refuse to believe it. I consider AD first extension to be a gimme, but if we bring in Avery he will be gone. Players hate to play for him, bottom line.

Pierre24
Pierre24

I disagree. How long will we keep up with this? I'm so sick of nola.com and this website not pointing out the truth. My 6th grade coach knew to have his best players in for the 4th quarter. I hope the benson family realizes that Monty Williams has no idea what he is doing before AD figures it out.

He is a clown and needs to be fired now before we are 4-20 and think just wait till the lottery. Oh wait we don't get that either.

Monty Williams reminds me of Jim Haslett. Beaut at least he went to the playoffs.

beefense
beefense

@Pierre24 Slow down a second there, Del Negro's whole offense in LA was to let Chris Paul improvise. Avery Johnson gets tuned out by his players after a season or two, and I like George Karl but I don't think our roster fits his philosophy.

It's too early to see if Monty should lose his job, but I think either of the Gundy brothers would be a better choice than the guys you mentioned. Look at the roster Stan Van Gundy coached in the finals, he implemented a system that best fit the players he had.

504ever
504ever

@Jason Quigley @504ever 

Bobcats have been without both starting Centers, Jefferson and Haywood, and the Bobcats still won.  And my point was about judging teams like the Knicks and their coaches so early in the year.  

(Are you cutting us a break for not having Anderson, too?)

RobertWelch
RobertWelch

@fixthefreakingpotholes @504ever  If the team does continue to lose more than half their games, then maybe the end of the season would be too late to find a new coach. You would want to bring one in who can start a turn around before next season, end the season on a high note. I'd say Monty has half a season to show what he can do with this team. I'm not putting all the blame on Monty, but I do think this team needs a coach who has the right direction for these players to thrive. I love the idea of Monty, but haven't been thrilled with the reality of Monty. Maybe he just needs a month or so to get this team to click together, everyone find their chemistry with each other. But if that's not happening by mid-season, then it probably isn't going to happen. You have to think of this from the owner's perspective, I don't think Benson will have a full year of patience for a losing Monty team.

marios123
marios123

@Pierre24 @Pierre24  Hang on a second there. What you are saying is correct but which five in your opinion where the best performers last night?? Evans was totally out of rhythm and out of shape from the beginning of the season and aminu is just a liability on offence and the team needed a spark. This game just provides more evidence how much we are missing Ryno. Wait till he comes back and then jmp into conclusions..


Jason Quigley
Jason Quigley

@504ever @Jason Quigley 

I guess so, but from the way things have been going, when Anderson comes back, someone else (or multiple people) on the team may take that as a cue for them to not give as much effort, so the team suffers again. 

I'm trying to not be pessimistic, but the team is not playing to its talent level (maybe because a certain coach isn't using that talent properly?). Or maybe I was too optimistic going into the season? (Nonsense!) 

Pierre24
Pierre24

Ok then van Grundy or Hollis Thomas. Take your pick. Anyone but Monty! I can't believe people defend this guy. How long will we watch this moron ruin our team? How can Evans get in sync when he plays 15mins a night? We deserve much better. I can't believe this guy was asked to coach USA ball. What has he proven?