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Game On: New Orleans Pelicans at Golden State Warriors
Pelicans trailing the Warriors by one with five seconds left, kick it out to Gordon for an open three and…… clang. Ugh, that one hurt, but let us not forget that a lot of good did come out of that game. The offense was very efficient, as each member of the Big Five scored in double digits against the Warriors, and the spacing was ideal for most of that night. The Pelicans also won the battle of the boards and held Curry to just 16 points on 20 shots.
But tonight might be a little different, as this game is on the road and Andrew Bogut will play this time while Anthony Davis will not. But there are still some areas where the Pelicans can improve over how they played Golden State the first time. The Warriors are in the bottom three in the NBA in turnovers, yet the Pelicans only forced ten in their last meeting. The Warriors took more shots, had more free throws, etc. than the Pelicans in that game because they turned it over less. As Ryan Schwan pointed out in the podcast, the Pelicans are a better offensive team per 100 possessions, but that is because they turn it over less. The Pelicans need to have more possessions that end in a shot attempt or free throw attempt if they want to have any shot of winning this game tonight.
What to Watch For
- Andrew Bogut’s personal fouls. It is a pretty big step down from Andrew Bogut to Hilton Armstrong.
- Draymond Green. If you want to see what an effective role player looks like, just watch Green. Pelicans have a bunch of guys who stuff the stat sheet, but who on this team does the little things to help you win that don’t show up in the box score? That is what Green does for Golden State.
- The Pelicans energy level in the second half. Can they play four effective quarters on the road against a .500+ team?
IMO Withey has some possibility of developing into a decent NBA player somewhere down the line, but he simply can't significantly contribute to this team this year. The Pelicans are in desperate need of help at center, and the team is clearly still in a transition year, so why not take a chance with Ajinca?
There's absolutely nothing to dislike about Withey at this stage of his development and his brief professional career, but if you begin to notice his minutes per game start creeping up to around 10, then you can be sure the coaches have reached the point where they have officially thrown in the towel with respect to the 2013-14 season. Like Austin Rivers during his 2nd year, Withey will get lots of playing time in the summer league and next year's pre-season, and then maybe he'll start playing significant minutes like Rivers has during his second season.
It's pretty hard to contribute to the team when you're sitting the bench nearly entirely every game...