Pelicans handle Grizzlies

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Published: December 13, 2013
Pelicans Win

The Grizzlies showed how badly their perimeter defense has failed tonight as they had little that could keep the Pelicans trio of guards from penetrating.  Prince is looking old,  Tony Allen(injury maybe?) didn’t seem as locked in as I’ve seen him,  and though Conley was game, he couldn’t be everywhere.  Without the massive Gasol in the middle, the Pelicans had to get past just the first line and there was little defense behind it.  Eric Gordon, in particular, looked locked in, and he enjoyed attacking Nick Calathes and Mike Miller in particular.  He hit a few shots he usually doesn’t tonight, and finished with 25 points on 12 shots.  Be still my heart.

The game certainly didn’t start out particularly well as the Grizzlies opened strong on the offensive end.  It wasn’t until their 10th attempt that the Pelicans got a stop as the Grizzlies either hit their looks or got putbacks.  The Pelicans countered by running hard and even though they were taking the ball out of the basket, they finished the quarter with 9 of their 11 fast break points.  That kept them in contact with the Grizzlies until Memphis inevitably started missing some of their long jumpers, and the Pelicans made up the ground and put the Grizzlies down in the third, holding them to 20% shooting and 11 points.  The Grizzlies never really threatened from then on.

Observations:

  • Jason Smith and Anderson did a really nice job on Zach Randolph tonight.  They forced some tough shots – but even better, they battled him hard for position around the basket and never allowed him to seal and catch for an easy shot.  Only one of Randolph’s post-ups finished with him catching the ball a few feet from the basket – and the trio of other times he did manage to get position, Smith usually managed to get his arm in there and deflect the entry pass.  Good job, buys.
  • Jon Leuer kept Memphis in the game as he drilled mid-range shot after shot.  He’s very Jason Smith-like, though he is willing to let fly from deep.
  • Aminu attacked the basket pretty hard in the game and muscled in some tough shots.
  • I was sad when after the Pelicans battled desperately for a rebound and finally won it, they whipped the ball around the perimeter and it ended in Aminu’s hand for a 20 foot jumper.  Sigh.
  • Rivers does stuff out there, but if he doesn’t figure out how to make a layup, none of it is going to matter.
  • Jrue Holiday took some good threes and some bad threes in this game.  I don’t care, actually – I’m just glad he’s taking them, since he’s one of the teams best shooter.  Oh, and he ended with 20 points on 14 shots and 12 assists to go with no turnovers.
  • Anderson had a tough night shooting, and the guards carried the day.  Think back over the last 8-10 years of Pelicans basketball.  On any of those teams, if the best player was out and the second best player was having an off night shooting, did any of them win?  This team has five guys who can score and carry a load.  It’s refreshing.
  • Tyreke Evans rolled the same ankle he had just a few days ago, though he stayed on the court to take his free throws and then half-time came.  That’s what I get for thinking maybe the Curse of the Pelicans that makes players take forever to recover from injury had been broken.  No, it just wanted a chance to injure him more!

Next game is Sunday to take on the Denver Nuggets.  Let’s hope Tyreke’s powers of ankle healing remain strong!