Tyreke Evans Hurt, Thunder Win
After an aggressive start to the game which saw no less then two two-handed dunks by Eric Gordon, the Pelicans were smothered by the Thunder defense and had real difficulty springing players for clean looks against a long, scrambling Thunder attack. The Thunder simply realized that without a good roll man (no Anthony Davis) the Pelicans weren’t going to be going to the basket on their pick and rolls – so they switched everything and leapt out on the big men as they slipped to their favorite spots for jumpers. The result was a bad shooting night from both Anderson and Smith – though Anderson did sort of make up for it by attacking and drawing free throws.
The strangest part of the game was the high number of Pelican turnovers for the team. With players being run off their favorite spots, the Thunder were able to poke loose a lot of dribbles, and Jrue got into trouble a few times and couldn’t find outlets. That resulted in a high number of fast breaks for the Thunder. Usually the Pelicans don’t give up a lot of turnovers and fast break points. Tonight, they got butchered there.
- Lou Amundson finished an alley-oop from Brian Roberts. That’s not a sentence I thought I’d write this season.
- Aminu has newfound confidence in his shot. Not sure it’s warranted.
- Tyreke Evans turned his ankle when attacking Durant on a drive to the basket. It was his assault against the Thunder reserves that kept the Pelicans in the game in the first half. He’s been diagnosed with an ankle sprain. Michael McNamara just burst into tears.
- Jeff Withey got 9 minutes and did fine, digging out a couple tough offensive rebounds. He’s still not used to the speed and strength of NBA players though.
- The Pelicans got it back within 9 in the fourth quarter as their reserves were beating up the Thunder resevers. Then the Thunder starters came back in. It was over then.
- The Pelicans did keep themselves in it by rebounding their misses. Unfortunately, they usually missed their putbacks.
The Pelicans get a nice hiatus now, not playing again until Wednesday against Detroit. Let’s hope Evans ankle sprain isn’t too bad.
Horrible traffic made me miss the only part of the game where we played well. The part I saw featured more missed layups and putbacks by our starters. Evans wasn't playing with any fire even before he went down, and OKC was allowed to be very physical without any fouls being called.
In this game, Roberts and Amundson actually outlplayed Rivers and Withey offensively, but I was impressed with Rivers' defense on Westbrook. Almostson got a steal, then immediately turned it over. He almost gets a lot of rebounds too. Withey was mixing it up on the rebounds, but also came up short most of the time. I'd rather see both Rivers and Withey to see if their potential develops, but I'd rather not have to suffer injuries to our better players to see that happen....
Gordon baited players twice into jumping onto him after a pump fake, but the refs called a travel on one and no foul on the other. Zero respect from the refs. Agree with Gordon's lack of court awareness and control. Jarret Jack used to do the same thing (turn it over) when he got stopped on drives in crunch time. Drove me crazy,
Our attendance is being hampered by the team's lack of consistent effort and performance at home. Most of the time we leave the arena frustrated and bewildered. The crowd would enjoy some rolls to the basket by our other bigs, some multiple-pass plays ending in corner threes, and some aggressive on-ball defense. What we are getting in iso-ball, drive with no kick, pick with no roll, and hesitancy on the three-ball from everyone not named Ryan.
Tonight we played a team accustomed to playing together... AND these guys are real shooters... i.e. consistent... I think its less than 2 weeks before we can start trading players... I really don't think this is the team that we will end the season with... OKC just went out and played...
Oh and I've realized that Gordon is pretty dumb when it comes to playing basketball. I thought it was just on fastbreaks, but it's everything. I hope Monty doesn't actually have plays written up that say "give the ball to Gordon, Gordon dribbles for 20 seconds, Gordon then either loses the ball or takes a bad shot," because that's pretty much exactly what happens every single time he gets the ball unless it's on a good catch-and-shoot 3. Is he a crybaby not getting the ball enough for his liking, so he just makes it a one-man show whenever he gets the ball? Because that's the attitude I had in middle school P.E. and it looks like what he's doing now. It's frustrating to watch.
Interesting lineup to start the second quarter with Evans, Morrow, Miller, Smith, and Withey. Obviously we won't have that again for a few weeks but I was totally okay with it.
I'm sick of injuries. Every year, a star player gets injured. Never just role players. Maybe only the Trail Blazers and maybe Timberwolves have had it worse recently that I can remember.