« Game On: New Orleans Pelicans @ Memphis Grizzlies
Pelicans stomp Grizzlies, coast to win
Just to make us all scratch our heads, the Pelicans stormed out of the gate against the Grizzlies, showing no tiredness from playing the night before. They proceeded to smother Zach Randolph when he was on the court, force turnovers (they are one of the best five teams in the league at this!) and dominate the glass in a blowout win.
The Grizz, for their part, avoided taking advantage of one of the Pelicans greatest weaknesses – shooting – and only Mike Conley had anything going at all until Monty went Cobra Kai and told Anthony Morrow to take him out.
Okay, Monty didn’t do that, but Conley was injured by Morrow in the fourth, and that ended any hope of a rally. Bayless couldn’t get anything going and Michael McNamara’s hero, Nick Calathes, managed four turnovers in ten minutes, matching his 2 points and 2 assists.
- Eric Gordon’s explosiveness is in full effect, and he didn’t seem to have too much trouble getting past the tough perimeter defense the Grizzlies usually put on the court. It is so nice to have a dependable scorer. Tonight Gordon got the most minutes he’s received this season, posting 19 pointson 14 shots in 34 minutes.
- The Pelicans forced 18 turnovers. The best part about it is how many people are getting into the steals game and converting them into points. Davis, Holiday, Gordon and Aminu all have tremendous length for their positions – or fast hands – or both. Outside of Chris Paul, can any of you remember having wing players able to wreak havoc in the passing lanes? You’ll have to go back to Eddie Jones, my friends. That was a long time ago.
- The Pelicans shot 4-13 from deep in this game. I can’t believe they aren’t keeping up the 50%+ shooting they’ve posted so far. C’mon Monty!
- When Tyreke Evans is having a multi-faceted impact on the game, this team tends to play well. Tonight he put up a 16-7-4 and his first better than 50% shooting night.
- Anthony Davis went for an 18-9-2-3-3 line. I have a feeling Michael’s hope of having a player lead his team in FG%, Pts, Reb, Blocks and Steals isn’t going to happen this year. Davis takes a lot of mid-range jump shots and he’s not very good at them. Of course, I’m fully on board with him leading the rest of the categories – and Davis missing those jumpers isn’t crippling – he attacks the basket so willingly he draws gobs of free throws and is still an efficient scorer.
- Good to see Quincy Pondexter. I was rooting for him to succeed. Though I won’t lie, I enjoyed him missing every shot he took too.
Next game is Friday against the Lakers.
Few things I'm taking away from these first few games.
-The team plays best when the energy is high, especially on defense. When we play well on defense, forcing turnovers, we can beat any team on any night (but apparently especially on the second half of back-to-backs??). Davis, Smith, and even Stiemsma have been good being inside presences on defense and that's been a huge difference.
-The team also plays well when Evans plays well off the bench (and in general). Obviously another area where we've been missing Anderson is bench play, so when Evans plays well it gives a huge boost to the team. And he was doing that against the Grizzlies. He had a good statline as well as one stat that you won't find in the box score: playing hard until the last second (there was some play in the last 30 seconds of the game when the game had been already won where Evans had rebounded through a few Memphis defenders and put up a layup).
-Gordon would be such a better player if he learned to do more than just score. Sure, he can put up 20 a night, but if he would learn to pass in certain situations (especially running on the fastbreak when he has other players to pass to!), it would cut down injury risk, get other players involved, and maybe set up a good dunk or five.
-When Anderson gets back, I'm really hoping our 3pt field goals not made but ATTEMPTED can get out of last place in the league. We're somehow first in 3pt percentage but last in 3pt field goals attempted, and in today's game especially, 3-pointers are important.
-I really hope at some point Monty realizes he has last year's 10th overall draft pick much improved sitting on his bench, and stops playing Brian Roberts over him. Seriously. One reason why the bench has been bad has been because Roberts really doesn't bring much.
-Davis is a monster, at this point a lock for an all-star bid (probably not in the starting lineup but coaches would be stupid to pass him up for one of the other spots), and I really hope he doesn't get injured. The reason why injury is a concern is not because of how much the injury bug has affected us already or in the past (which it has) but how recklessly Davis seems to play at times. When he's running the fastbreak he seems to lose control of himself and hurl himself at defenders hoping for a foul. You can maybe do that if you're Lebron James, but not a 6'10", 235(?) pound, lanky power forward that has been injured in the past, and in a league where torn ACLs are getting more and more common.
Overall, it can only go up from here and I'm excited. When Anderson gets back, the team should start to get to play more like their potential at the start of the season.
I lost you with "Roberts doesn't bring much". Here are his stats so far, while averaging 18 minutes per game. So double them to get per 36 minutes stats. 8 points/game while shooting 0.536 FG, 0.500 3Pointers, and 1.000 FT. His true shooting percentage is 68% and 17th best in the league! He has a stratospheric assist-to-turnover ration of 3.5 (2.8/0.8 per game), with 1.2 steals per game and 1.6 rebounds per game. His PER is 22, which is 2nd on the Pelicans and 33rd in the NBA. (A 15 PER represents an average player.)
Oh, and Roberts basically closed out the Charlotte win for us, and was one of the few bright spots on the Phoenix game.
Roberts brings so much I think it would be more accurate for you to ask what Roberts doesn't bring.
He's not bad for a backup, but I feel like Rivers could bring so much more. Plus, isn't Roberts playing with another guard that's handling the ball most of the time? He's the 4th guard on the team and isn't asked of too much but does well where he's asked to, I guess, so he's not going to lose his job as backup PG and Rivers as the 5th guard won't get a chance. I said he doesn't bring much, not that he doesn't bring anything at all. He's a good shooter when he's on, and is good at finding teammates without turning it over. That's pretty much it, which thankfully isn't much of a problem for now since we have three really good and (knock on wood) healthy dynamic guards.
Don't get me wrong, I like Roberts. I just think having Rivers on the bench is wasting talent. I'd like to see him get a chance to prove himself in a game (hopefully not because of an injury to the other guards, though). But if Roberts continues what he's doing and the team can consistently win, obviously I'll be fine with whatever lineup decisions are made!
(also if I had any gripes about your comment, it'd be that some of Roberts's stats in those wins have come in garbage time, so I don't know how trusty stats can be sometimes)
I don't agree with your last point. Roberts' two best games were when he played the most against starters: Phoeniz, when he played with & against starters because of Jrue's foul trouble, and Charlotte, when he closed the game out against starters. Robert's is a huge positive for this team by any objective measure.
A very, very small sample size of 5 games. Still, NO ranks near the bottom in offensive pace at about 95 possessions per game. Slowest pace of any team in the NBA is 93 and highest is 105.
NO's relative slow pace is despite having good defensive rebounding and forcing turnover stats. IMO NO needs to pick up the pace to take advantage of its strengths.
One other thought on last night's game: it was good to see Gordon play with intensity in a back to back situation.
They've also played 3 of their 5 games against the slowest teams in the league. The Pacers, Grizzlies and Bobcats are all super slow paces teams and are designed to be that way. That will have a pretty big reflection on our current pace factor.
AD is shooting 10/21 from midrange, but I remember a few of those being bailouts at the end of the shot clock. If he can shoot 50-60% from mid-range that is great. He is shooting only 48% at the rim, but remember he is also shooting about 8 FT's a game. Many of those misses at the rim are plays where he is getting hacked. When he gets stronger and starts finishing some of those "and 1's," look out.
This sort of aggressiveness is what I expect from this team.
Smother on defense. (flock 'em)
Attack the basket on offense. (death dive)
AD's shot chart so far this season. And yes he could be doing better, but it's early. http://vorped.com/bball/index.php/player/shotchart/1381-Anthony-Davis/season/2013-2014-REG
Regardless, good win last night. Lets get to 500 and then get revenge on Phoenix on Sunday.
@WesleySwinnen He is pretty bad at the rim. That is the source of his low shooting percentage and also something I suspect will improve. Here is another shot chart. http://stats.nba.com/playerShotchart.html?PlayerID=203076
@Michael McNamara Thanks for this! Keep up the good work too
I've found that AD is knocking down those mid-range jumpers pretty damn regularly. I've seen every game except for the Orlando game.
With the Lakers aging roster and young pups the Pels can win this the downside this would be a fluke win because Kobe no playing.
Our uninjured top 6 players all played well. They were all efficient scorers (points to shots ratio 1 or above) and stuffed the stats sheet in other areas. They clearly wanted to win as they led the team to a 15 point 1st quarter lead on 75% shooting.
The only negatives? Smith's fouling (especially cause Stiemsma's range is 2 feet), and our team's assist-to-turnover ratio was nearly 1:1 (16:13). But it was a sloppy game. Memphis's ratio was slightly less that 1:1 (17:18); we had 10 steals to contribute to their turnover problem!
"Davis takes a lot of mid-range jump shots and he’s not very good at them." What the hell have you been watching to come to the conclusion that he's not good at mid-range?
Great win. I would like to see a win like this with Zbo available the whole game. But still, 3rd quarter production!!! If only we could play like that in every 3rd quarter.....
Big win. Old fashioned ass whippin' doled out tonight. PLEASE let us destroy the Lakers on Friday and send all of the Kobe trolls home crying!