Published: December 11, 2013
This was always going to be a close game. The Pelicans were facing an opponent with two solid bigmen while still without Anthony Davis. Yet that didn’t faze them and for three quarters Monty Williams’ team did exactly what it needed to: keep Detroit off the boards. Going into the 4th quarter the Pelicans held a 38 to 22 rebounding edge.
Even better, the Pistons came in a beastly offensive rebounding team and the Pelicans held them to just 5 for the first three quarters. But Detroit woke up some in the final period and grabbed another 5. Combined with the Pelicans’ woeful offense during that stretch, Detroit won the quarter to 22-13 and it led to the game being tied at 96 and some extra basketball to be played.
In the extra period the Pelicans ground out the win and that’s the main thing that matters. It’s not going to be pretty with the franchise centerpiece out for a few more weeks but it’s important that this young team learns how to pull out wins.
–There were times when Jason Smith was used perfectly on offense and times when he was not. Though he is a strong jump shooter, Smith needs to be a second or third option outlet pass. Plays when he flares out into space off a pick and roll or when a guard drives are perfect. His defender rotates to clog the lane and it leaves him wide open in space. There needs to be more of this. Too many possessions start and end with a pass to him at the elbow. There is just no need for him to be taking 16 foot jumpers with 18 seconds left on the shot clock. However 22 points and 16 rebounds is no joke.
–Anderson has off nights but he doesn’t have them for 5 quarters. He hit some huge shots during extra basketball. Shooters need to keep shooting. Good to see him do just that.
–How in the world Evans played tonight is beyond me. His ankle wasn’t even wrapped and he didn’t wear a brace. Certainly nice to see a player bounce back from an injury quickly.
Now for his play on the court. There were many possessions where it seemed like he was just allowed to do what he wanted. A lot of him dribbling around before barreling at the rim and either scoring or picking up a foul. Monty doesn’t let everyone do this and it’s clear that he’s earned the coaches trust. Expect to see his minutes increase slightly.
–Austin Rivers got 18 minutes tonight: Good. His play: not so much.
–Spacing on the offensive end is going to be so important to this team. With no real low post big teams can collapse on guys like Smith—and even David with his slight frame—in the paint and contest nearly every look they take. Ryan Anderson making threes spreads the defenders out and gives more room for the bigs to receive passes.
Aminu developing a jump shot to keep defenses honest is vital for the Pelicans’ success. Austin Rivers even made a corner three tonight and if he can develop that shot, and help space the offense, he’ll earn consistent minutes.
I’ll leave you with that for the night. Enjoy the win and give us your thoughts in the comments!