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Pelicans Lose an Absolute Heartbreaker to the Warriors
People love sports because of the way these games make us feel. Most of us grew up watching a mother, a brother, a father, an uncle get emotional while watching their favorite team play. Subconsciously, or maybe even consciously, we wanted to feel that passionately about something too, so we took to sports. We chose a favorite team – be it a hometown team, or a loved one’s favorite team, or maybe just a team that was winning championships at the time – and we became heavily invested in their wins and losses.
And there is the rub with sports. In order to get those emotional highs that leave you high-fiving strangers at a run down bar, you have to also accept that you are going to have the lows – those games that leave you with a pit in your stomach. Your appetite is non-existent, and even your most severe real-world problems are trumped for a few moments by the failings of a handful of men that you don’t even really know. It doesn’t seem rational when you look at it from the outside, but almost nothing about sports or our love for it is rational. It’s an emotional experience. Some nights you leave floating on clouds, other nights you are gut punched.
Tonight, we were gut punched.
You can break down the game and all its X’s and O’s (and I will do that in Notes and Observations), but sometimes you just have to appreciate the experience. You have to appreciate the fact that this feeling is a good thing, because it proves how much you still care about sports. I mean, really, in this day of reality TV, franchise films, and social networking, how often do you really feel something?
Tonight, we felt something as that buzzer sounded, and it wasn’t the feeling that we desired, but it was a feeling nonetheless. We were disappointed because of our expectations for this team and our hope that they could pull out this particular game. They did not succeed tonight, but we have expectations and we have hope again – two things that weren’t present over the previous two seasons. This team is far from a finished product. A lot of work must be done to get them to fulfill their potential, but they have reminded us of ours. We are capable of caring and believing. We can have hope and expectations for a young team that has shown signs of great things. We can reinvest our emotions into a team that will be able to one day reward us for sticking by them.
Tonight it was a gut punch, but it won’t be that way forever.
Notes and Observations
- First of all, to those who have not seen the game and are looking for a score, I apologize that it has taken you this long to find one, but it was about more than the score for me tonight. Warriors 102, Pelicans 101.
- Starting at the end and working backwards: I did not blame Monty for not calling a timeout. The timeout would have allowed the Warriors to make a substitution – which would have likely meant taking out Jermaine O’Neal and replacing him with Draymond Green, who is a vastly superior defender. Monty trusted his young point guard and he got Eric Gordon a wide open look. It just didn’t fall. I would take that shot every time in a game winning situation. The real problem is that the Pelicans should not have been in that situation in the first place.
- So, you want to blame Monty? THIS is what you blame him for – Anthony Davis got 9 minutes in the first half. Nine. Yes, he had two fouls, but so what? You really think a guy who averages 3.3 a game is going to pick up another 4? You think the refs will call him on ticky tack stuff if he gets up to 4 or 5 fouls? Now, I am not using 20/20 hindsight, I tweeted in the first half that Davis would finish with just 3 or 4 fouls and the decision to be that conservative would look foolish. It was.
The Warriors scored 30 points in the paint in the first half with Davis on the bench (just 18 in the 2nd half) and the Pelicans trailed by 8 at halftime despite scoring 31 in the 2nd quarter. No way to prove how this game turns out if Monty continues to play Davis with the two fouls, but one can take an educated guess.
- Other head scratching decision – Eight minutes for Brian Roberts in the first half and 25 minutes for Aminu compared to just 23 for Tyreke. Evans got to the basket at will, yet I looked at the box score halfway through the third quarter and he had just 11 minutes. You have a Warriors team with no inside presence and a wrecking ball of a guard in Tyreke Evans; seems like simple math. But not to Monty. He decided to play Evans less than half the game tonight.
- The Finishing Five unit is even more beautiful to watch than the CP3-Peja-West-Chandler-(insert player) unit in its prime. The spacing is amazing and the ball moves with such fluidity. And when they get the ball to Anthony Davis or let him clean up their mess, it brings the crowd to their feet. It was terrific again tonight, but came up a bit short. Could you imagine if that unit was on the floor to extend leads and not try to erase deficits?
- Jrue Holiday plays with so much more control now on the offensive end, and he is a beast on the defensive end. He is comfortable playing on the ball or off and is taking the ball to the rim more and more. Now, he just has to finish more frequently.
- If the box score didn’t say so, I would have never believed that Eric Gordon played 36 minutes tonight. He had short spurts where he was aggressive, and he seemingly got his points in bunches. I don’t know if he can only give that kind of effort for small spurts or if Monty just goes away from him instead of riding the hot hand. I have seen Gordon on a hot streak, only to be benched by Monty this year because his rotation says it is time to sit Gordon. I would like to see Gordon keep shooting, or at least playing, when he gets hot like that.
- At one point in this game, Jason Smith led the team with 14 FGA’s. Now that is just stupid. When I rank the guys I want getting shots, he comes in 7th, behind the Finishing Five and Morrow. I know that prevailing logic is that you take the open shot, but doesn’t it make you wonder why teams GIVE you that shot? Because it is inefficient and it prevents some of the other major weapons on your team from getting in a rhythm. As good of a shooter as Smith is for a big man, he just can’t shoot a shot every two minutes he is on the floor and expect this team to be successful long term.
- David Wesley focused on one particular play at a crucial stretch of the game in which the Pelicans ran a pick and roll with Brian Roberts and Anthony Davis, got the switch that they wanted, and Roberts just dribbled the ball instead of getting it inside to AD. The play resulted in a turnover. David Wesley wanted to state his true feelings, but he bit his tongue. A wise move, seeing that he works for the team. I don’t. Brian Roberts should not get a minute for this team moving forward. Under any circumstance. Ever. It was a nice little signing, plucked the guy out of nowhere and he hit some shots in a lost season and in meaningless preseason games. Good for him. But its time for this experiment to be over. For good.
- Ryan Anderson scored 21 points on 17 shots, but there were three or four attempts that just left you shaking your head. Look, I know he can’t just stand behind the arc and I love that he now puts the ball on the floor or goes into the post, but these fadeaway, turnaround 18 footers have got to stop. You are better than that Ryno.
- The Finishing Five is beautiful.
- Though the next three games are on the road (where the Pelicans are 1-5), they all are winnable. It would have been nice to have gotten this win, but those three might be even more important, as this team needs to learn to win on the road. December’s schedule is brutal, including a 5 game road trip against Denver, Golden State, the Clippers, Portland, and Sacramento. If they can’t learn to win on the road, we could be looking at a team that is 10 or more games below .500 heading into January.
GerryV, I agree they need a verbal ass kicking and they need to be on the attact mold all the time stay aggressive. In Amiu I case remember you once mention Aminu as a tease that because he just play 5 minute in the First quarter and 5 minute in the Third quater how can you be effective like that. He is the Pelican second best rebounder beside Davis and probaly they best defender and shoot 80% from free throw let the man play.
I enjoy reading the posts here and find tremendous satisfaction in adding to my evidence file that most of you are out of your minds! Open clean 3 ball from the corner was a good look….OPEN AND CLEAN…..what the team needs is a verbal ass kicking……please find a small fwd that can score and the floor will open up like the gates of a castle….you guys keep wanting to change everything…relax for cryin out loud and give this team a lil time to figure this out…i need to do a podcast to lay a verbal beat down on some of you….( like a stern father guiding his confused son)……Happy Thanksgiving!..( this post in no way means my love has diminished in any way for all of you)
First I believe Monty need to play Amiu for four quarter not just the First and third quarters.He had nine rebounds and 4 points and did not play at all in the fourth quarter.This been the trend in every game.How can you prove your worth when you don’t get the opportunity the prove your self.I think Aminu and Davis is one of the best young frontcourt in the NBA.Monty has to trust in is players to succeed expectedly in crunch blaming Aminu when he is not in the game is not fair this takes away is confident.That the difference from preseason Aminu played more minute and was more effective because he was playing with more confident.Like Davis said do what you do in practice or preseason and applied it on the court.You have to trust in a player ability to succeed give him a true chance.I bet Aminu excels in practice.
So now that we know what we know about this squad's strengths and weaknesses, we're fooling ourselves if we think that another coach will walk in and get a significantly better result. At the end of the game, we needed two points--no, really, just one point because in that situation you at a minimum need to just not lose. So why did we end up taking a 3-point shot in this scenario, which is something the other team prefers us to do? I don't think it's poor coaching; they created an open shot as they're supposed to. Gordon had already hit a 3 from that spot.
My problem is there's apparently no play the Pelicans can run in that situation that definitely gets us a higher percentage shot at the rim. I'm not saying that they should have forced the ball down low. I'm saying that the problem is we don't even have decent low post options. Davis is not a back to the basket go-to guy: not yet, and maybe not for a long time. J Smith has no back to the basket game, per se. Aminu? Withey? Nah. Last person we had of that persuasion was Landry, maybe Kaman, but the point is that G State knew that with our personnel they should camp in the lane defensively and take their chances with the kind of shot we got.
So given our skill set on the team, there's this whole area of offense that we can't run. How many close games will we be able to win, depending on driving from the top of the key, or 20-foot jumpers? On the flip side, we find ourselves getting beat in the paint on a consistent basis because we don't have bonafide low-post defenders. So a guy like Jermaine O'Neal, literally gets off his deathbed, and can have a career night shooting 5- and 10-footers whenever he wants.
My problem with the way the game ended boils down to this: Gordon missing that shot means he's still untradeable to get the critical pieces we need.
I have one question why didnt we go after Derek Williams? Hell we could have gave up Aminu just say easy as the Bucks gave up who ever that guys is.
Would this trade work, Gordon and Roberts for Deng? The Bulls are now in need of scoring guards and we need a 3. This is Deng last year under contract I think.
We did not need a 3. A dagger 3 is great, but why not get the ball to Evans or Davis and get to the hoop? They were unstoppable in the 4th.
Both Smith and Gordon need to stop settling for long jumpers. Aminu needs to stop settling for any shot other than a layup or dunk. We get zero offensive rebounds on long shots.
Evans is rapidly becoming the best guard on this team. He needs to come in for Aminu when Anderson comes in, and stay there for 30+ per game. When Holliday or Gordon leave, bring in Morrow and slide Tyreke to the 1 or 2. If both Gordon and Holliday need to leave, then bring in Rivers to work with Tyreke. Roberts is a strong negative factor unless someone throws him the ball spotting up. Since nobody will do that, he needs to sit.
I would like Withey to get a few minutes from Smith, and a few from Amundson. On a per-minute basis he is our BEST player, and far better than Smith or Amundson. Give him a chance to prove whether he can translate from that small sample size to a bigger one. Check boxscoregeeks.com for fascinating data to back this up!
Monty's rotations are questionable and I just don't understand how the opposing team always has someone wide open for 3. with that being said, I think pelz fans are just looking for someone to point the finger at, Monty isn't perfect but you have to hold the players accountable as well
Not sure if its the lineups or the sense of urgency (or lack there of) early in games, but why does it take the final quarter to finally play with the passion and will to win?? AD barely gets touches, he's open a million times in the middle of the lane and no one throws him the ball, everyone is out there playing lazy one on one ball, no energy....then in the 4th we turn it up as they say! We have to play that way from the very beginning. If we can do that, I think you see us being the ones up double digits, not fighting back when its too little too late. I think its vital that our young guys stop looking at the score and the time remaining early in games, and simply focus on each possession as though this is the 4th quarter "do or die" and play with all we got. As a fan in the stands its frustrating to see a terrible effort for most of the game only to be up and out of my seat the 4th quarter with joy and excitement because we finally decide to show up to the fight. When we show up and fight its a thing of beauty win or lose, but we gotta play that way for 48 minutes, not 12!
Aminu should see small ball minutes as a 4. I didn't see the first 3 quarters at all, but if GS is rolling out Barnes/Green as their 4 and 5, Aminu makes much more sense than Amundson. Regardless, Evans needs more than 23 minutes.
Sad loss to a less than full strength Warriors team, but not disastrous. My goal was always to be right around .500. Teams just don't make 20 win swings in one off season if they don't add a legitimate super star or two (e.g. Boston and Miami). It's all about Davis. He still needs time and at least one more reshuffling of his supporting cast before it's competing for championships.
In the big picture, what this game shows is we are not a playoff team right now, or even close. We were playing a team missing two of their top four players! What we did wrong tonight (or other nights) is irrelevant to the overarching point: we are approximately the 11th rank team in the Western Conference when we are fully healthy. You can scapegoat different individuals (on different nights) all you want. The reality is, even when healthy, we can only beat teams with losing records, and that includes a hamstrung team like Golden State in this game.
This will take time to change.
Eric Gordon has said and done all the right things as a member of this organization for the past year, and he should be commended for that. But last night's loss is even more painful when you think about what sinking that last shot would have done to boost his trade value.
I repeat: WE NEED A HEAD COACH!!!
George Karl, Stan Van Gundy, Lionel Hollins, Jerry Sloan, Scott Skiles... Lots of good names available and we suffer with a weak and inexperienced coach. Another "crunch time loss" which shows that we don't have a good coach. When the franchise will take action?
I think Aminu(lacks offense), Morrow (lacks height/defense), or Miller(injures good in small spurts at the end of last year) should start at the 3. Keeping Tyreke to lead the second unit we don't need two sixth men (Monty seems to forget Tyreke on the bench. He plays 6 more minutes in wins? via ESPN.com). With evans as primary backup for the 1&3 exploting the bigger mismatch on the first sub he could close also. There really isn't a second unit playoff teams shrink to mostly a 8 or 9 man rotation.
I also despise watching Roberts not because of his score first but because of his defense, maybe its me he is too slow to press, lacks the vertical lift to challenge shots(someone teach him to put his hands infront of there eyes rather than up at a block like Shane Battier), and cannot stay infront of his opponent.
Nine man rotation in order of minutes.
1.Davis cornerstone(start at 5 ,also play 4)
3. Evans (sixth man/ closer)
4. Ryan Anderson (start at 4)
5. Gordon (his knees still scare me starting 2)
6. Aminu/Miller (battle hoping he's better lost 15 lbs? aminu time at the 4)
7. Smith (much better against second tier big men)
8. Morrow/Amundson depend on if the oppsosing team plays small ball
9. Rivers (he can play defense)
Blowouts and back to backs could be adjusted. Also really like on Withey in limited minutes, I think Amundsons hustle and experience are holding him the spot. Future third big?
rivers not getting any minutes tonight to defend curry?thus smith knows how to drive to the basket and not only settle for midrange jumpers?poor rotation of players by monty...brian roberts played tonight because monty thinks that rivers is tired because of our back-to-back....:)
so MM if you want a coach to replace monty now....who do you want?
Couple of things I noticed:
1. The "finishing five", should be the starting five, the clutch five, and the my God put them back in five.
2. I'm sorry, but Brian Roberts disgust me. I hate PG that want to score first. Plus he plays no defense. At least when Rivers make a mistake, he plays twice as hard to make up for it.
3. Have Aminu play the 4 and decrease J. Smith minutes. He role has changed in a way that we don't get those beautiful high octane spurts from him.
4. By moving Evans to the starting 3 and Aminu to the backup 4, give Childress a shot. Honestly, what will it hurt.
5. I absolutely loved that game. The last shot......was the rim fault.
I was glad Monty didn't take the timeout, because the Pelicans were in a good flow and had control of the ending. We got a wide open look for our big money man, and the shot just barely rimmed out. If we can get a look like that to end every close game, then I'll be ecstatic. We came up short, but it was on our terms.
Davis really went into beast mode at the end. The place ERUPTED when he got that slam off the rebound.
I hate to beat this dead horse, but when will Gordon even TRY to look up for a teammate on the fast break? He's having to take really contested layups because every defender knows what he's going to do.
@lawstar Gordon has mentioned the need to run more... in reality that would be up Aminu's alley... Somebody has got to push it... They are young and need to run and gun..
@GerryV I agree.. they need to play together to grow together... I was amazed at how we hung in there with Golden State... In reality we need production out the the SF position... but he is another Ariza... so far... But what was really exposed was the lack of a low post presence... Teams will dominate inside if our answer is AD....
@lawstar so you trust a guy that has no offensive gem unless its a straight sprint to the basket?
@Sportnlyfe Yours is the best analysis of the goings on in the last game with the exception of moving Gordon.... We could trade any of our guards except Gordon, so far assuming there is super star potential on the end of the trade..
Now I agree we don't have a desperately needed post up Big... In other comments I mentioned a Okafor or Kendrick Perkins type of player... Looks like they attempted to fill that void bring in Onuaku... We cut he and Lance Thomas bringing in Amundsun and Childress.. the latter an interesting choice...
But Jermaine O'Neal scored 18 points but we lost the game taking a low percentage shot and them boxing out Davis in the paint on D... We could have thrown the ball inside but we have to rely on those types of shots... In reality we were doing well with Smith's mid-range jumper... What's interesting is would we have made out any better were Stiemsma not injured... could he handle O'Neal... what a question... OR what's up with not trying Withey...
NOTICE: Monty Williams has a new contract and there is no reason to dump him... I am sure it is in part guaranteed.... You have to like the potential of Evans' game but he misses too many layups... LAYUPS.... that has nothing to do with Coach... AND based on Coach's remarks about dealing with Mr. Aminu... remember he is another super talented 23 year old... 2 years older than Rivers... come on man...
Coach is still coaching kids... Now this team might not look like it does now when the teams really start trading players... We are Guard heavy and all have trade value... especially Roberts.. But we have to stick with Aminu.. but he needs to take more shots... He doesn't find a groove because he looks like he is reluctant to take over... all he needs is a consistent shot or 2... and the sky is the limit...
@NOEngineer corner three is not that long of a shot…its shorter than other threes and the guy was WIDE OPEN!…..roll up box score geeks and smoke it……that jumper drop and none of this talk happens
@Edbballin504 cause young teams have to master quarter to quarter consistency
@504ever I agree. I think that I said after the 4th or 5th game that I was changing my expectations for the team and playoffs were no longer the goal, improving was. Thats how I feel. If I look at the scores at the end of the game or the record, I will be disappointed. But if I just look at how they played, I want to see improvement.
I see a big improvement in Austin's game, more versatility in Ryno's offense, Tyreke and Jrue taking it to the rim more, and Gordon staying healthy. I want to see individual and team improvement moving forward and expect to see a team that starts winning games like this in February and March. By then, it will likely be too late for a playoff push, but I wont care. It will be improvement that they can take into the following season, where I will expect a playoff birth.
@Papa Pelican fire yaself!…..i had to say that…xo..lol
@Papa Pelican I agree. I think we should ask the following question: Monty Williams is the right name to lead an ambitious project?
@lottoni81 police are surrounding your house as i write this….going to throw a net on you!
Amen brother afterall this is not Benson hiring in the first place it was the Shinn regime hiring.Benson can get someone that means believe in winning not someone that keep the team in medoicre.
@AndrewDenenea1 ...I like the way you think.
@mojart Rivers also would/could have gone by Nedovic at every opportunity. Not sure why Monty insisted on Roberts...
@mojart I think people need to understand that if Monty gets fired, he will most likely be replaced by one of his assistants for the rest of the year. This idea of a coach like Karl or Hollins riding in on a white horse and saving the season is highly unlikely.
Secondly, if Benson has his way, the next coach would probably be Avery Johnson. Is that an upgrade.
If it were up to me, though, I would wait until the offseason and if Monty improves, keep him. If not, I throw every dollar I can at Shaka Smart from VCU and hire some strong assistants to help him through the steep learning curve.
@GerryV I have not seen a team run the fast break worse than our Pels. We have great finishers but some how turn the ball over with poor spacing. I love that we have Tereke to go to the hole but how do we get him to move the ball so we can finish more of our break?
@Papa Pelican Aminu is a great rebounder and a solid defender, two things Wright never was. Don't be foolish
@GerryV I think in this case, your opinion shouldn't be taken seriously. After all, you must be a Monty Williams' buddy. So you will always defend his crap work.
Please save us from Avery Johnson or Byron Scott. I don't believe either of them will ever get a superstar to stay in town as a free agent. (I am not counting the basically automatic first extension for promising rooks).
@GerryV me nice GerryV! I am not going to watch your show. Diehard Saints and Pelican Fan NewOrlean native I seen it all and I can tell u the history Jazz, Hornets, Bucaneers, Pelican and Saints. Buddy D, Wayne Mack, Hap Glade you known what I mean. I been right all the time.
@lawstar @GerryV I agree.. but Mr. Aminu needs to take the shot when he has a look in lieu of passing the ball... By comparison Xavier Henry and Aminu were not extended but they brought back Amimu... So Henry moves over to the Lakers with Kobe and is now a real contributor... How did that happen that he gained that much confidence... But looks like Coach likes Aminu and rightfully so agreeing with your comments.. Miller had the same problem when he got in games early in the season... They need to take the shot... Rivers also.... Aminu averaged 13 points in High School...