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.


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