Nuggets Streak in the 3rd Quarter, Drop the Pelicans

Published: December 15, 2013

The New Orleans Pelicans put up a good fight against the Denver Nuggets for the first two and a half quarters. It was then that the bench decided they didn’t want to score points or stop Denver from scoring. An 8-0 run for the Nuggets in the third period turned a close game into an eventual 102-93 loss.

Down Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson stepping into the starting lineup, Tyreke Evans out, more minutes going to Austin Rivers and Brian Roberts, you knew there was potential for the second unit to struggle. Forced to go with a Rivers, Roberts, Morrow, Anderson and Amundson lineup is just never going to get it done against quality NBA teams. Though the team played well, in the end the Pelicans just didn’t have enough talent to win.


–While the lack of talent hurt tonight, the Pelicans’ effort was great–just as it has been all season long. For all the criticism Monty Wiliams has received his teams never quit and show up ready to play.

–I’ve been a big backer of Lou Amundson going back to last season but I’m becoming less happy with each game. The main problem is he’s playing too many minutes with Davis out. Amundson gives you good rotations which, especially on this young team with it’s lack of court awareness, is important. That’s great and useful in limited minutes, say 8 a game. But when he plays more than that the fouls and turnovers become an issue and hurt the team. Amundson is averaing 10 minutes a game this season; tonight he played 19. When Davis comes back and Withey develops those minutes will go down.

–Austin Rivers got almost 22 minutes of time on the court and he contributed. 5 of 9 from the field, including 2 3-pointers and 5 of 7 from the line. Awesome. The 3’s and free throws are going to be important for him to keep working on. If he can consistently space the court the second unit will be much, much better.

–Ryan Anderson didn’t have his best shooting night but this happens from time to time. Maybe it was the altitude in Denver, or a lack of rest or whatever. Shooters have bad games. I think everyone would still want him on the court as much as possible.

–Rebounding was subpar tonight. When the three starting front court players grab a total of 14 rebounds you know it’s going to be a rough night. Denver’s front court took advantage and that’s where the Pelicans were hurt. If you take out free throws and 3-pointers Denver scored 60 points. Of those 60, 40 came from inside the paint. With Davis out the Pelicans do not have anyone who can defend the rim from a relentless attack. Kenneth Faried and JJ Hickson were doing damage all night long and the Nuggets looked to get them the ball often.

–Morrow put up an O-fer from the field tonight. He really needs to make two or three shots from deep to help take the pressure off the starters. When he’s having an off night the Pelicans’ second unit becomes much easier to defend.

Overall, it’s hard to judge the team after a loss like this with two key players out. Some of the lineups used tonight are not going to be playing together regularly. Sometimes teams matchup against others poorly. And there are nights when the shots just won’t go down. We saw a little of all that tonight. Let’s just skip over this game and look towards the next one.


  1. 504ever

    December 16, 2013 at 8:28 am

    I am glad Rivers played well tonight but, on a Pelicans team with no back-up C to speak of, no back-up SF to speak of, and 3 high quality guards ahead of Rivers, the reality is Rivers play may just be helping his team by increasing his trade value.  If you can ship out a #3/4 guard and get a #2/3 C or a #2/3 SF, you do that 100% of the time.  (You might even trade a #2/3 guard for a #2/3 SF or C because you always will trade smaller for bigger when players are otherwise equal.)  
    I always wondered about the decision to play (showcase) Rivers right as the real trading period starts.  We will all see what, if anything, develops.

  2. Caffeinedisaster

    December 16, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    504ever We have PLENTY of backup centers.  What we do not have is a quality starting C or SF.  While I love J.Smitty, I believe he (like Amundson) is best in small doses, providing energy and impact then being rested.

    I am anxious to see what happens with roster movement moving forward. While we have some great talent, we need some solid role players.

  3. 504ever

    December 16, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Caffeinedisaster 504ever 
    I think we are on the same page.  What if we could get Davis or Leuer from Memphis for Rivers (and a filler like Stiemsma)? They are both back-ups who ate up Smith and Amundson in the game Friday night.

  4. Caffeinedisaster

    December 16, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    504ever Caffeinedisaster There’s always that inconsistent guy who plays really well when playing us and Leuer/Davis aren’t any different. 
    I’m very hesitant to trade Rivers at this point in his young career.  I just know as soon as we do, he’ll go off and become a great player.  
    If anything, we should move Roberts while some GMs think he’s a bargain bench player.  I know the salary won’t match so we’ll have to throw Steimsma/something else in with him.  We NEED to free up some minutes for Austin to get the backup role.  He really should be getting reps in the D-League at the moment if we can’t.
    It makes me think Monty just wants him to sit there and watch Jrue to see what to do and Roberts to see what NOT to do.
    All Rivers’ problems could be fixed with a good psychiatrist.

  5. lawstar

    December 16, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    If we can stay at 500 which is not bad for now . We at 500 11 win 11 loses.  Let see when we get Davis, Anderson, Amimu, Holiday and Gorden playing togeter as starters. .  Jason Smith, Stiemsma and Tyreke Evans coming off the bench.  Now thats a team !

  6. 504ever

    December 16, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Caffeinedisaster 504ever 
    I don’t Roberts has the trade value of Rivers.  What do you think you will get for Roberts and an injured Stiemsma?
    Oh, Leuer has a PER of 19 while averaging nearly 20 minutes/game and Ed Davis has a PER of 17 while averaging 15 minutes/game.  (Both figures are much better than Smith’s 13.6 PER.)  
    They aren’t just guys who play well against us.  They are the 4th and 5th bigs on Memphis when Gasol returns. Memphis needs guards, Rivers is our 4th best guard when all are healthy, and these two teams have a history of small trades.
    In my opinion, getting either guy would be great.  Davis is the more likely because his production is lower and his salary higher.  Davis’s QO for next year is somewhat high at $4.3M and, as a RFA, Davis may be hard to resign at that price.

  7. mateor

    December 16, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Memphis is not trading Ed Davis for Rivers. Davis is looked at as an asset. Rivers has almost no value right now. He is a replacement player at the moment, with some slight optimism that his work ethic and pedigree will result in a rotation player someday down the line.

  8. 504ever

    December 16, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    mateor You and Caffeinedisaster need to fight it out over Rivers.  
    And, as far as Memphis goes, they have been negotiating with Davis.  They know what he wants and how likely it is they sign him.  Also, Memphis has 1 quality player at positions PG, SG, & SF.  That is Conley.  Allen and Prince are nice older players who are best suited to come off of the bench.  So Memphis need guard help.  What are their options?
    it’s a great deal for us, but only if Davis resigns.  Otherwise, Memphis gets Rivers for a while and Memphis has minutes for Rivers as they rebuild and get younger, and we “rent’ Davis for a the rest of the season.

  9. PelicanDownUnder

    December 17, 2013 at 7:02 am

    Just realised that the Pelicans and Nuggets both shot the exact same from the field and from behind the arc. How freakishly cool is that!!!

  10. mateor

    December 17, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    504ever mateor Caffeinedisaster I actually am rooting for Rivers. I have come around. But I don’t see him having any league-wide value.
    He is still young, and a productive NBA career is still in play. But I don’t think we’ll see Ed Davis-type players in a one-for-one, no.

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