Pelicans Struggle Throughout, Fall to Spurs

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Published: November 25, 2013
Marco Belinelli

Following a dramatic come from behind victory in Cleveland, the New Orleans Pelicans expected to bring it against the Spurs.

What they did not expect, however, was for “it” to be missing a few letters out in front…

Our Pelicans nearly lost control of the game as early as the first quarter when the Spurs went on a 11-0 run. Consecutive buckets by Anderson and Morrow three kept us within striking distance, and the end of the quarter gave genuine hope that this could be a competitive game.

Leading 27-21 and with time winding down, Manu Ginobili threw the ball to Tyreke Evans instead of holding for the last shot of the quarter. Evans drove down court and into Manu, who wasn’t quite set, and hoisted up a successful shot. He converted the three point play, cutting the Pelicans deficit to just three as the teams took a break.

In the second quarter they wouldn’t be so lucky. The Spurs used a 22-8 run to stretch their lead to 17. A Ryan Anderson three provided temporary relief, but the Spurs fired back with six unanswered. Jrue Holiday had a chance to chip away at the deficit at the end of the quarter, but repeatedly missed layups when the Spurs showed rare moments of mental weakness. Jeff Withey was fortunate to finish one, but Holiday needs to make those shots.

At this point, if you were watching, you probably realized something– the Spurs are a far superior team to the Pelicans, and the Pelicans had already made far too many mistakes to have all but a minute chance of winning. Apparently the Pelicans realized that also, because they came back out onto the floor without fire in their bellies. Blah.

By the time the third quarter rolled to a close the Spurs lead has swelled to 26, and this one was over.

I’m trying to think of a New Orleans basketballer that had a decent game, but I’m coming up empty. Maybe Jeff Withey? Austin Rivers in garbage time? I’ll think more and get back to you.

Want to know one who struggled mightily?

Monty Williams.

What in the world is he doing leaving his starters out there so late in the game without a prayer of winning? They were down 27 with five minutes left (a number that represented perfectly how far out of reach this game was the entire second half), and AD and Jrue are on the floor with 30 minutes under their belts, a flight tonight, and a game tomorrow. They are young guys and I’m sure they can handle playing tomorrow, but what about four months from now if we’re fighting for a playoff spot?

When Davis went down I nearly had a heart attack.

In all seriousness Monty is probably going with some starters so that they can get experience playing together against NBA quality talent outside their roster. I get that, but the Pelicans were not playing good basketball. I’m of the school of thought that if you’re practicing poorly, you’re not really getting better. That said, you can see why I don’t think Davis or Holiday should be out there risking injury and draining their bodies without a chance of affecting the outcome of the game.

Wait, I got it! Marco Belinelli!

Damnit…

-

Mason Ginsberg was credentialed at the AT&T center and offered to give us a little bit of insight into what was going on there.

What was the crowd like compared to what we’re used to in New Orleans?

Mason: Pretty much a packed house, even on a Monday night against the Pelicans. These fans truly love their team, and why shouldn’t they? The Spurs haven’t been bad since Tim Duncan entered the league in 1997.

What is something that we wouldn’t know unless we were at the game?

Mason: The Spurs have a DJ spinning live in the arena, which is pretty cool. The in-game music is very solid here. The sound system in general sounds superior, too.

How was your first New Orleans basketball game in their opponent’s house?

Mason: It was a really neat environment. The AT&T center seems so dark compared to the New Orleans Arena, due in no small part to the team-colored black seats, and it definitely works.

17 comments
macs21
macs21

We missed a bunch of open/easy shots that made it get out of hand in the first half and as a number of people have stated, you don't come back from 15 down against the Spurs.
If that hadn't been the case I think we could well have been down by 10 at half time rather than 20 and that may have made the game a whole lot closer. Not saying we would have had a chance to win, but it wouldn't have been anywhere near as ugly had Gordon shot better and Davis and Holiday not missed 4-5 open lay ups in the first half.

Off nights from 3 of our top scorers (Anderson, Gordon and Davis) means we're always going to struggle

Caffeinedisaster
Caffeinedisaster

I believe that Monty leaves the starters out there when they let teams get these huge leads as punishment.  I've heard Joel Meyers talk about it several times during the broadcasts.  It's not fair to throw the backups in for a futile effort.

YOU dug the hole.  Now dig YOURSELF out.

HOWEVER, this could backfire if one of the starters gets hurt.

nolahog
nolahog

The Spurs look even better than they did last year.  Belinelli is really thriving in the Spurs' offense, and he gives them a poor man's Manu Ginobili to go with. . . Manu Ginobilli.  The Spurs should have beat the Heat last year, but I think this year they'll finish what they started.

We really need t work on our fast break!  Our spacing is always poor, and our two fastest players that often push the tempo, Gordon and Evans, do the exact same thing every time:  put their heads down and take it to the basket everytime.  Fortunately, both of those guys are good finishers at the rim, but it doesn't take the opposition long to figure out what they're going to do when they've got the ball in their hands on a fast break.  Also, have any of them ever heard of a bounce pass?!  How many times did they turn us over by jumping the passing lanes when we were on the fast break?  We're a fast team that turns people over a lot, and Monty needs to work on our full court offense.

Random observation:  Anthony Morrow is a much more versatile offensive player than I thought he'd be.  He's a deadeye from 3 point range (as billed), but he's been very consistent with his mid range jumpers and occasionally creating for himself.  I'm really glad we picked this guy up.

Overall, I'm not that angry about this loss.  The Spurs are going to do this to a LOT of teams this year.

LaNative
LaNative

The Spurs are well coached, experienced and simply overwhelmed the Pelicans.  It was disappointing that the game wasn't more competitive but that's part of the learning curve.  Oddly, it was an off night for everyone, and this team goes as Anthony Davis goes. Monty is always teaching but what his teaching moment was with keeping the starters in the game when it was well out-of-control is questionable. Hopefully, the Pels will rebound and come out and get a win against a struggling Warriors team.

bradlaborde
bradlaborde

I expected to lose handily to the Spurs.  I can live with that.  What bothers me is watching a team underperform every night.  This team is better than what we've seen through 11 games.

I see a lack of intensity regularly.  Guys won't even pass for open layups on fast breaks. 

Appears to be a lack of communication on the court and in the front office.  Dell handed Monty a team ready to run.  Monty prefers a slow pace.  The result is the confusion we've witnessed on the court.

504ever
504ever

This game showed me how much more NBA experience, and experience playing together, our team needs.  The Spurs were coldly efficient on offense, and got some steals (one by Parker in the 2nd quarter in particular) and near steals by jumping our passing lanes using to their superior understanding of the game on defense. 

We have talent, maybe as much as the Spurs, but we have to learn more about how to use it together in the NBA.  Rome wasn't built in a day.  Give this team time.

Jason Quigley
Jason Quigley

I think it was just an off night against one of the best teams out there. And an off night is something you can't have against a team like that.

Agreed on Monty though. I only was bale to watch the second half but when we were down by 30+ in the 4th quarter, the starters should definitely NOT have been in. I had a mini-heart attack too. 

xman20002000
xman20002000

Well this game tells us we are young and also we need to make a few moves...  One of the commentators noted how Belinelli was doing so well... and that he was playing on a good team...  Then how has Xavier Henry imporved going to the Lakers...  Holiday and Evans plus EG.... that's over $30M... are we getting our money's worth....  Coach can't make layups for players...

mojart
mojart

i taught it will be a close game......im wrong....(*_*)

Ddiamondd
Ddiamondd

I was fully expecting a decisive loss; it was more of a blowout than I thought it would be, but the Spurs are obviously the superior team right not. What I'm most upset with is how good of a shooter Belinelli is now; I never saw that when he was here.

Singular
Singular

This was our first game against an elite offense, so I'm not surprised that we struggled so much defensively.  I am concerned about the lack of intensity that the Pelicans have showed early on in the past 2 games.  We got away with it vs the Cavs, but you can't do that against the Spurs.

Definitely not feeling the lack of urgency that this team plays with all too regularly.

On the bright side, the Pelicans are a top 10 offense this year and their pace is up by about 6 possessions per game from what we saw the past two seasons.  Maybe Monty is willing to change his stripes.



504ever
504ever

@macs21 Digging deeper, why did all of our players have an off night at once? I say the Spurs defense was the reason. It kept us off balance all night

xman20002000
xman20002000

@Jason Quigley I think Coach just wanted them to get experience playing together...  They had the last game Friday... and playing 30 minutes for a 20 yr old...  I think they can hang but there is always injury...  Diaw played more minutes than any Spur...  He is a technical that is a Big that can shoot...  They shut EG down and he only played 19 minutes... Our starters totaled 36 points and the defending champion is supposed to handle us...  

I am more concerned why Evans can't make a layup...  Holiday does the same...  Then we make 13.3% of our 3 pointers to their 40%...  then we had better offensive rebounding numbers but some of us run the court and miss a layup never thinking about passing.... 


macs21
macs21

@504ever I'm not sure that that's digging deeper. Ordinarily I'd probably agree with you, but as I mentioned a lot of the shots I saw them missing were open. Sure some of EG's were open jumpers, but I also saw a fair few open lay ups.

There was even a sequence where Tyreke missed, rebounded, missed again, rebounded, missed for the third time, Amundsen rebounded and kicked out to Anderson for an open three and he missed that.

All the open shots I mentioned were in the first 20 minutes too, it was pretty poor from us.

In fact, there were another 3 or 4 ocasions where our guards practically walked into the lane for lay ups and made them.

It was a very weird night in terms of making shots.