Published: November 10, 2013
For the 2nd time in 5 days, the New Orleans Pelicans were unable to handle the Phoenix Suns, losing 94 to 101. The Pelicans dropped to 3-4 with the loss.
Turnovers were a storyline from the start, and many of them looked really, really bad. The motto of the night was “leave your feet when passing,” as the Pelicans routinely got caught in the air with no options and wound up turning the ball over.
The defense was good early, as the Pelicans were forcing Phoenix into taking long shots, often without any sort of penetration. The Suns wound up going 7-22 from deep, and the perimeter defense was often as good as the stats indicate.
Unfortunately for the Pelicans, Markieff Morris had his cheat code on and burned the Pelicans for midrange J after midrange J. I am so tired of watching the Morris brothers tear apart this team. I don’t know how they’re doing it, but they always bring their best against us.. and it aggravates me to no end.
Oddly enough, the Pelicans did not manage to take a single free throw in the first half. It’s hard to blame officiating when the Pelicans aren’t attacking the rim, but it’s also hard to believe that an NBA team should ever go a half without a free throw. Monty Williams must’ve been in the refs’ ears before half, because the Pelicans managed to get into the bonus with over 7 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter.
The fourth quarter came and the focus went, as the Pelicans were outperformed down the stretch by the Suns. There were lucky shots, sure, like a running 10 foot Archie Goodwin bank shot, a 18 foot bank from Eric Bledsoe, and a desperation heave from Gerald Green for 3, but the Pelicans executed horribly and let the game slip through their fingers.
- Austin Rivers was subbed in for Brian Roberts in the first half to defend Goran Dragic, who came off the bench in his return to the Suns lineup. Dragic torched Roberts in his few first half minutes with him, and Monty elected for Rivers’ defense over Roberts’ offense. Honestly, I think it was the right call, despite Rivers’ offensive struggles: Dragic was largely non-existent when defended by Rivers and Jrue Holiday.
- I don’t understand why we continue to have Jrue initiate the offense when Bledsoe is defending him. His shooting was on, so his stats don’t look that bad.. but Jrue left his feet over and over, rarely drove past the free throw line, and was bothered by Bledsoe’s pressure all night long.. and that’s fine, because Bledsoe is a great defender. But why attack him? Gordon may have been off, but I’d rather Gordon get to the rim and fail versus Gerald Green than watch the offense stand around because the Pelicans are attacking one of the best perimeter defenders in the game.
- Jason Smith had a great game. The Suns were collapsing on penetration and leaving him open, and he burned them time after time en route to a 22 point performance. He also had a ridiculous block on one of the Morris brothers. Smith wound up playing a whopping 41 minutes on the night.
- The Pelicans lost players on backdoor cuts at some pivotal times in the game, and there were no rotations to cover the mistakes. The focus seemed to slip as the game went on.
- Tyreke Evans played 7 minutes and he was bad in each one of them. Defenses are sagging off of him and he just doesn’t have an answer right now. This is partially due to his limited explosion, as he doesn’t seem to be in game shape or to have his explosion completely back after his injury. But make no mistake, this was a very poor performance by Tyreke, and I’m glad Monty sat him. It’s got to be better.
- Anthony Morrow kept us in the game in the 4th quarter with his scoring, and it really wasn’t because of his 3 point shooting. He was driving to the rim and making unorthodox shots, shooting off of midrange curls, etc. Oddly enough, he had the lowest +/- on the night, registering a -11 in 28 minutes.
- Anthony Davis had a relatively quiet night on offense, scoring only 4 points at the half. He got involved late, but wound up shooting a meager 5-13 for 14 points. His off-ball defense was again very good, as he posted a block and 4 steals. He was once again a terror on the glass, collecting 12 rebounds (5 offensive) in his time.
- Ryan Anderson is sorely missed. At one point, the Pelicans had a lineup of Roberts, Morrow, Evans, Stiemsma, and Thomas, and the offense looked beyond horrible. It is a simple fact of basketball that teams will sag off of players they don’t respect and help on the tougher ones, and having Thomas and Stiemsma on the same offensive unit just can’t happen. Monty quickly subbed in Smith to get rid of this lineup.
- At the end of the first half, the Pelicans had the ball with 24 seconds left in the game and 17 left on the shot clock. After they missed their shot, they collected the rebound.. and didn’t burn out the clock. It wound up being okay, as a Sun missed the 3 to end the half, but this is inexcusable. NBA players should know better.