Pelicans fall 100-97 in tightly contested battle with Mavericks

Published: December 4, 2013

In another game that could have just as easily been a Pelicans victory, New Orleans came up just a little short in their quest to extend their winning streak to four games.

One could point to quite a few reasons as to why this game ended up as a loss, but here’s what’s on my mind:

  • Under 50% shooting in the restricted area. The league average from this range is over 55%, so anything under 50% is pretty brutal. Tyreke Evans regressed to his early season struggles in this area, making only 1 of his 7 attempts at the rim. He did earn a team-leading six free throws (making all of them), but the fact that his FTs accounted for 40% of the team’s total attempts brings me to my next point.
  • Inability to get to the free throw line. As I stated in the game’s preview, the Mavericks entered this game leading the NBA in free throw attempts allowed per game at 28 per game. Despite a trio of attacking guards as talented as Holiday, Gordon, and Evans are, the Pelicans attempted just over half of that average, finishing with just 15 attempts as a team (though making 14). The recipe for beating Dallas is getting to the line, and New Orleans simply was not able to do that.
  • 3-point shooting disparity. Dallas’ volume of 3-point attempts (24) was right in line with their season average (23.1), but they made 11 of them tonight, good for a significantly higher percentage (45.8%) than they have averaged this season (38.6%). On the flip side, New Orleans attempted almost as many (22) but only converted on 7 of them (31.8%). The Pelicans had some good looks that just didn’t fall, but they allowed too many of those good looks to the Mavs.
  • Roberts & Amundson combined to play as many minutes (23) as Tyreke Evans. Look, I’m not going to yell at Monty to play Withey and Rivers instead (even if he should), but giving those two that many minutes when one of your best and highest paid players is getting in the low 20s for minutes just doesn’t make sense. The Pelicans lost this game in a 4-minute stretch encompassing the last 1:20 of the 3rd and first 2:30 of the 4th, when the Mekel/Carter/Crowder/Nowitzki/Dalembert lineup torched Roberts/Morrow/Evans/Amundson/Smith (with under a minute of Aminu & Anderson thrown in) in a 14-2 run.

With all that out in the open, there are a couple positives worth mentioning from tonight:

  • Al-Farouq Aminu – Maverick Killer. Chief decided that his previous career high in rebounds – 20, set last April against the Mavericks – wasn’t enough, so he topped it tonight with a 16 point, 21 rebound performance. His relentless activity led the Pelicans to a +20 rebounding edge, including an offensive rebound rate well over 30%. If not for he and Anderson’s 11 combined offensive boards, this game would not have been so close.
  • Jrue Holiday doing exactly what he should against Josal Mekalderon. The Mavericks’ point guard duo of Jose Calderon and Gal Mekel are absolutely abysmal defensively, typically allowing the vast majority of their assignments to blow by them with ease. Holiday certainly did not pass up this opportunity, leading the Pelicans with 26 points on 17 shots (only 4 of the 17 were taken between the paint and the 3-point line) to go along with 9 assists and 4 rebounds.

Pelicans will look to resume their winning ways on Friday night at home against Kevin Durant and the Western Conference powerhouse Oklahoma City Thunder.


  1. Come On Pelican

    December 4, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    I realize that y’all have fingertip access to all of the important new NBA stats (PER, VU, +/-, etc. etc.) but can you please stop micro-analyzing every single decision that Monty Williams makes every single game? God almightly, do you think that he sits there courtside every night with a computer in his hands (just like you) timing the minutes of each player during each game? For God’s sake, Lou almost made a basket tonight (it was only stolen from him by a premature whistle). I can assure you, EVERY Pelicans fan loves the game that Tyreke Evans brings to the court every night. But can’t you see he’s wildly undisciplined and in serious need of coaching?  How many uncontested layups has his missed tonight (and this season)?  He made ONE basket in 23 minutes, and you’re criticizing the coach for giving minutes to other players? Chalk this up to what it was: a hard fought loss to a better team when we were missing our star player. That’s all you can say about it.

  2. bigindian

    December 5, 2013 at 12:14 am

    Come On Pelican Is this a serious comment?  Coaches setting rotations and playing time has been around way, way longer than advanced stats.  Besides, he doesn’t need to be actively paying attention to the advanced stats during the game, but he should be taking a look at the numbers after the game to see if his eyes aren’t deceiving him.
    Also, how exactly does missing uncontested layups translate to being in serious need of coaching?  How can Monty coach him into making an open layup? That’s on him to make, and the fact that he’s getting multiple uncontested layups means he is clearly doing something right in driving to the basket and clearly has the talent to benefit us more than guys like Roberts and Amundson, so he should be playing more.

  3. Come On Pelican

    December 5, 2013 at 12:18 am

    Obviously you missed your calling as an NBA coach/executive.  Too bad you have to spend your time trolling around the internet with idiots like me.

  4. jmald1

    December 5, 2013 at 12:25 am

    plz god for lovin sake rivers nd whitey is on ur bench they need time to develop nd wen u need stops it would b better to have them on da court besides lou nd Roberts learn dis lesson please

  5. Pierre24

    December 5, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Monty just doesn’t get it. It’s been 4 years, and we still talk about his rotations. Hollis Thomas is dying to get back in the game. I think Monty got his first head coaching job too quick. He reminds me of Jim Haslett with the saints. You wonder what’s going through his head with his best players on the bench and we continue to get scorched.
    And can we please play rivers and Whithey? They can’t be worse than Roberts and amudolson. Also, it will take a while for demos to rebuild from the total debacle from Jeff Bower and George Shinn fiasco. We just need a new coach as well.

  6. Come On Pelican

    December 5, 2013 at 12:36 am

    I’m sure it’s just a matter of time until they offer you the job, Einstein.

  7. mojart

    December 5, 2013 at 12:37 am

    i want to know the difference between rivers and over dribbling roberts….monty is so infatuated right now with brian roberts….i really dont get it

  8. NOEngineer

    December 5, 2013 at 5:15 am

    Come On Pelican  I”n case you are serious, please explain why Amundson should play over Withey.  Use whatever non-statistical voodoo that you do.  
     Last night, Dalembert made Amundson look horrible.  He was completely ineffective on the boards, shooting, and defending.   He sets a decent screen, but that is the only thing I see of value from him.   I have no idea what Withey will do with extended minutes, but I sure want to tind out. 
    It doesn’t take a super-computer to realize that Amundson is getting killed.  One of his assistant coaches could gently point that out to him as Amundson is pulling the ball out of the net after someone scores over him…..

  9. lsucpolk

    December 5, 2013 at 6:44 am

    Come on, you’ve stated your case below. Now everybody is starting to think you’re a douche, because you are attacking everybody who has an opinion that is different from yours. It’s annoying.

  10. Jason Calmes

    December 5, 2013 at 7:50 am

    I actually agree with your point, generally speaking. I did not find this article overly analytical or nitpicking, but those articles and comments are out there on websites, message boards. etc.
    You made your point, one I agree with, and you made it well.
    You do need to stop flogging those who either disagree with your point or who just wish to high hell you were wrong.

  11. bradlaborde

    December 5, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Pels need to take advantage of divisional opponents on b2b games, but didn’t have enough bench help.   I enjoyed watching Jrue Holiday.  He seems to get better and/or add something each game that assures me that the future is bright. 
    The curious case of Al-Farouq Aminu….Whay can you say?  It ebbs and flows with regularity, like the South Louisiana tides.
    Tyreke Evans is still a work in progress.  He seems so limited offensively.  I was disappointed with Eric Gordon.  Offensively, he had a few opportunities to hit Anderson for open shots.  Primarily the set where he elected to drive and kick the ball out of bounds instead of getting Ryan an open look.   Monta Ellis was clearly the better basketball player.  The late game switch moving Gordon to defend the PG and Holiday to Ellis was the right play, but you’d like to see Gordon hold his own against quality opponents on both sides of the ball. 
    The bench, man.  Yikes.  It clearly needs better effort or other players getting minutes.  Figure it out soon, OKC Friday…

  12. Caffeinedisaster

    December 5, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Aminu:  STOP taking jumpers!  Your game is much more effective at the rim. (nice dunk BTW)
    Tyreke:  SEE ABOVE. (omitting the dunk comment)
    EJ:  When on the fastbreak, you have teammates.  Try to remember that.  This isn’t the Clippers circa 2008.
    B-Rob:  STOP trying to force shots in a crowded lane over 7-footers.  If there’s not a shot on this play, reset the offense.

  13. chiefyoungblood

    December 5, 2013 at 8:57 am

    On a positive note. I feel like for the first time in our storied injury history we have guys who are capable of and are in many cases stepping up.  
    The Aminu benching obviously did something
    Team defense is still perplexing , rotations looked allllriiightt but its hard to rationalize our bad team D when we have so many adequate-good on ball defenders. But then again we are rolling out a interior of Anderson/Smith/Amundson

  14. ryanschwan

    December 5, 2013 at 9:01 am

    One fun item from this game:  Though Tyreke Evans wasn’t hitting his layups, of the 6 shots he missed at the basket off drives, 4 of them were offensive rebounds.  He was at least making their defense collapse – which always makes it easier to offensive rebound.
    The infamous Kobe Assist in action!

  15. mateor

    December 5, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Seriously guys….I am loving Tyreke Evans. Such a neat type of player. There is no guarantee that he will be able to settle into his role (whatever that ends up being…this team has multiple radical shifts ahead of it) but he is really a fun package.

  16. nmasri

    December 5, 2013 at 10:09 am

    The biggest surprise of the season may be that Austin Rivers and Brian Roberts were included in a poll asking who should have the ball at the end of a close game.  An even bigger surprise is that some people actually voted for them.  I guess the Rivers and Roberts families read this website…

  17. Kempleton

    December 5, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Title: To Take or not to take advantage of opportunities, I think that’s the problem.
    Intro: Almost 5 minute left on the clock, Mavs up by 3. Team foul #4 by the visiting Mavericks. The number of fouls by the Mavs after that point? Only one! Yes, you heard it right. The Mavericks fouled only once and that was the wrestling Blair jumping on Anderson foul. No more fouls.
    Main body: Aminu was great the entire game. As soon as he grabbed his 13th rebound early in the second half, I google for his career high on my phone. I said he might easily break it tonight. He did. (Interestingly, his previous career high (20) was also against the Mavs last year.) However, Aminu started to struggle when the Mavs increased the defensive intensity in the final quarter. That’s when we needed Tyreke Evans on the floor. I know Tyreke missed a lot last night. He was 0-6 in the first half but, remember he is an excellent free throw shooter and a very good passer. 6 of his 8 points came from the charity stripe. He made all 6 attempts from the line, he was the one with the highest number of attempts. (Pelicans had 15 attempts) He added 4 assists, all in the first half last night.

    Here is what coach said after the game: “We stopped attacking the basket in the second half, which led to more turnovers on the perimeter.” You’re right coach and I felt like you forgot Evans on the bench until the last 8 seconds to inbound the ball. Or, you intentiomally left Evans on the bench. That’s worse. Because, all we needed was somebody attacking the basket. Evans is one of the strongest candidates for that. He could have drawn fouls, and attempt freebies, he could have created more room for Anderson to shoot 3’s! Number of three pointers attempted by Anderson in the last 5 minutes? Only one, at the buzzer! Number of three pointers attempted by the team in the entire 4th quarter? 2! So, we stopped attacking the basket as the coach says and apparently we stopped taking 3 pointer.s Not good. 🙁 Mavs were over the limit. We could not take advantage of that. We should have attacked the basket more.

    For example: Tyreke Evans played the entire 4th quarter against the Knicks. He scored 10 and has 3 assists. He made 6 free throws! I think he is capable of drawing fouls and he also can create open looks for teammates.

    Conclusion: Whenever Monty put the All-Star 5 (Holiday-Gordon-Evans-Davis-Anderson) on the floor, The Pelicans shined and finished games strong. Yes, we do not have Davis at the moment and Aminu can provide the needed rebounding. However, he sometimes limits the offensive productivity of the team. So, the coach might have to make a decision in between Smith and Aminu and keep Evans alongside Holiday and Gordon to finish the games. Evans had a hard fall last night and he looked like holding his knee for a little while, not sure if that’s what kept him off the floor. But, if that was the case, then somebody else should have attacked the basket more. Gordon tried at the end of the game and unfortunately he failed. 
    Note: I see that lots of people are criticizing Evans for his bad misses tonight. Well, number of missed layups by the Pelicans against the Mavs: 10. 3 of them was by Evans. Sorry for the too long comment…

  18. ericsnow

    December 5, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Why is b rob still getting back up pg mins with rivers defense and quickness we cold had won an extra game or 2 also he could possibly be a better option offensively since brob last few games he average around 2-3 pts and 2 assist

  19. LaNative

    December 5, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    I have held off my Brian Roberts complaints, but, I will finally take a stand…..Austin Rivers should be the backup point.  Obviously Monty prefers BR because of experience but it’s not translating.  AR is quicker and better defensively, and, if given a chance will gain experience too. After all, he was our 10th first round pick (was he chosen to sit on the bench?)  I maintain that Withey is our surprise waiting to happen. I’m sure Monty doesn’t read this because he can’t afford to be influenced, but, just in case his assistant or someone who knows him does – GIVE WITHEY AND RIVERS more minutes dangit.  Humbly, a Pelicans fan.

  20. ericsnow

    December 5, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    A decent rotation that might work until AD returns would be holiday/gordon/aminu/smith/Whitley bench could be rivers/morrow/Evans/Anderson/GS if he’s healthy enough if not throw smith back out there why not I believe Evans and Anderson plays best when both are on the court

  21. dxxpxx

    December 5, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    watch when he actually starts making his layups more consistently

  22. 504ever

    December 5, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    I have a hard time reconciling your criticisms 1 & 4.  Perhaps there is a cause and effect that makes both happen: the reason Lou and B-Rob got as many minutes as Tyreke is that Tyreke was so ineffective at the rim.  So it seems odd to criticize both ends of that, the cause and the effect. Monte loses either way, whether he plays Tyreke or not

  23. Pelican Poster

    December 5, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    As stated above, game was lost at the end of the third,  it was at that point that Holiday and Gordon? came out with a 7/8 point lead that evaporated instantly before the end of the quarter and extended after it until they got Anderson back in after a short rest.  When that substitution was made I feared we’d lose momentum, but never did I think it would be so quickly.  Gotta rest that guys at some point but I must agree that Rivers adn Withey cannot possibly do worse than Roberts and Admundson.  3 straight turnovers late in the 4th also didn’t help, especially Admundson not handling a pass, and Aminu getting a nice drive and dish from Gordon which he promptly dropped and lost.  Pitiful for an NBA player to not be ready for these things when it is your full time profession.

  24. GerryV

    December 6, 2013 at 9:23 am


  25. GerryV

    December 6, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Dangit? Imagine if they used that word in the GODFATHER or A BRONX TALE?

  26. mazonmafia

    December 6, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Bummer that we lost 2 very winnable games against teams (Warriors and Mavs) we are competing with for the 7th/8th spot in the playoffs.

  27. lawstar

    December 6, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Mr. Mason very good observvation, Monty needs to keep an eight-man rotation  Let that unit grow.

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