Small Relief from the Storm
I won’t be told anymore that I’ve been bought down in this storm
And left so far out from the shore but I can’t find by way back, my way back anymore
Oh no, I won’t be told anymore that I’ve been bought down in this storm
And left so far out from the shore, oh, that I can’t find my way back, my way anymore
– Guns N’ Roses, Madagascar
New Orleans Pelicans News
From the last checkup through the Knicks game (we’ll deal with the fully-post-Davis games soon), the New Orleans Pelicans went 2-2, bringing their record to 8-8.
In the 112-93 loss to the Spurs, the Pelicans held close in the first, but lost the game in the 16-30 second quarter from which they never recovered. In all fairness, the Spurs outplayed them in the third, as well, and didn’t feel the threat of the Pelicans in the fourth, so they didn’t mind the slight comeback.
The Pelicans loss to the Warriors came down to the closing seconds. Trailing by 1, the Pelicans drove to basket, kicked to Gordon for an open 3, and it missed only slightly. The Warriors rebounded and ran the short clock out before the Pelicans could foul and use their last timeout for another attempt, losing 102-101. An 11-0 run for the Warriors to close the first quarter should not go unmentioned.
The 103-99 win over the Knicks was marred by the early loss of Anthony Davis. The Pelicans lost the first 2 quarters, then won the second 2, and the Anderson-Evans duo accounted for 55 of the Pelicans’ 103 points.
Clearly, the biggest news of the week is the injury to Davis’ left hand than will sideline him for 4 – 6 weeks, or 12 – 20 games, not include the Knicks games.
In a circle of life fashion, Darius Miller has been made available for games right on schedule with his recovery from a stress fracture.
Around Bourbon Street Shots
In the week’s episode of In the NO, the guys discussed Tyreke Evans’ role on the team and more.
This week’s Trew 2 the Game was a diary of watching the Spurs game.
Mason gave a peek at the Sport VU technology and what it generates.
On the player front, Pellissier asked if Ryan Anderson should be starting for the Pelicans. Then Michael McNamara looked how to fix the small forward position while Gerry V and I discussed Aminu’s role on the team.
Lastly, a reader wrote about his recent trip to the see the Pelicans in New Orleans.
`Voices’ of the People
“I can’t imagine they go into San Antonio and they’re not 100% focused.” #famouslastwords
If you get a starting 3 playing 25-35 mins, do you take playing time away from Gordon and Evans? I think if a trade occurs to fill the spot then I’d expect one of them to go out, with rivers the long-term, poor-mans replacement.
I like the idea of Saric. A 5 of Holiday, Gordon/Evans, Saric, Anderson and AD would be fun to watch!
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!
This team has dealt with injuries for the past 2 season that have kept Davis and other off the court as individuals and kept the units and player combinations of greatest interest from getting significant playing time.
We are in store for more of this in December, so to offset that, let’s look at some pleasant surprises so far this season.
The offense has a TOV% of 12.3, good for first in the NBA, and the defense has 15.4%, good for 5th in the NBA. So the team is protecting the ball and forcing empty possessions by opponents.
The 29.2 ORB% is 3rd in the NBA, which is one of the most pleasant surprises. The 11th ranked 75.1 DRB% is not eye-popping, but is also a pleasant surprise.
The team’s pace is 93.6, which is tied for 17th in the NBA with the Heat and Trail Blazers. This is just 0.6 below the NBA average. So, if you wanted increased pace and did not expect it, there you go . . . and that’s good company these days, even if it not in the top half of the NBA.
Their ORtg of 108.6 is good for 5th in the NBA, exceed by the Clipper, Heat, Rockets, and Trail Blazers, and is 4 above the NBA average.
Jrue Holiday got some undeserved flak, and still does to some extent, for the false narrative of his turnover problem. His 18.3 TOV% may seem high, and it is the highest he’s posted since his rookie season, but his 37.0 AST% is the highest he posted as well. The ratio of 2.02 is just fine for a starting point guard with his minutes who distributes as well as he does.
While defense continues to be the worry, there is a good foundation being laid down with the blocks and turnovers. The team is last in allowed eFG% (0.525), which is 0.029 above the NBA average. This will have to be improved if this team is going to make the leap. We’ve heard Monty preach defense, and we see some elements of it (block, turnovers), but we need to see the team work better together to stop the shots from falling through the hoop to their backs. We are told this will come in time. Let’s see if it does.
For now, enjoy those improvements and hope there’s more where they came from.