Game On: New Orleans Pelicans at Houston Rockets

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Published: December 28, 2013
Game On Away 6

Who’s ready for a shootout? Well, if you are hoping for a Pelicans victory, then you better be because you don’t beat the Rockets 95-91 in Houston. They put up points in bunches, even on off nights. Take their last game against Memphis, for example. James Harden goes 2 for 9, the Grizzlies brought the pace of a game to a screeching halt, and Dwight Howard only plays 18 minutes because of foul trouble and the Rockets still scored 100 points. They were terrible from three that night (5-24), so they just kept attacking and got to the free throw line 40 times. Point blank, this team scores and there is nothing you can do about it.

The good news is that their defense is often as bad as their offense is good. They don’t force turnovers (29th in the league) and they have a tough time controlling the boards (21st). James Hrden plays defense like a Matador and Jeremy Lin gets lost on that end quite a bit. Their only plus perimeter defender, Patrick Beverly, is out with a broken right hand, and Asik, their best interior defender, is out as well.

If we’re being honest, this will be a very difficult game for the Pelicans to win on the second night of a back-to-back. They will likely be without Eric Gordon and Jason Smith again, and it is much harder for role players like Darius Miller to play well on the road than it is at home. For the Pelicans to win this one, the following will have to happen:

1. Defend Howard One-on-One in the Post

Since the Pelicans lack a big with strength, logic says that they will have to double Dwight Howard, but the numbers say different. Dwight Howard only averages .7 ppp in the post. Meanwhile, the Rockets average 1.2 ppp on spot-up jump shots. Doubling Howard in the post gets the Rockets shooters open looks. I say, play Howard the way you played Cousins just a few days ago – man up and let him try to beat you down there. When he gets good position, send him to the free throw line. That results in .57 ppp. If Howard goes off for 35, fine. It will take him more possessions to get there than it will for shooters like Parsons and Harden.

2. Play Davis and Ajinca together 15+ minutes

Against the Rockets, you need rim protection. Ajinca can defend Howard straight up and use hard fouls when he needs to, while Davis can roam and get weakside (and even some perimeter) blocks. These two also give the Pelicans the opportunity to control the offensive boards. The more possessions, the better chance to beat this offensive juggernaut.

3. Put Holiday in the Post

Jeremy Lin has been terrific this year scoring around the rim, but he is still a major defensive liability. And with Patrick Beverly out, the Rockets have had to lean on Aaron Brooks for backup minutes. Brooks is a bit hobbled with an ankle injury, and is far less dangerous than Lin even when healthy. By putting Holiday in the post, the Pelicans can get easy points, either from Holiday or off double teams. And, chances are that they can get Lin in foul trouble as well. The Rockets only like to play 7 or 8 guys in their rotation, so if you can get deeper into their rotation, it gets them out of their comfort zone.

14 comments
NOEngineer
NOEngineer

21 shots by Tyreke with probably 16 drives, with at least 6 missed layups.  ZERO free throws for Tyreke tonight.  

32 free throws by Houston on 25 Pelican fouls.   A swing-through 3-shot foul that is supposed to be a thing of the past.    Brooks pulls Anderson into him by the jersey and draws the foul.

I wish I could say this was home cooking, but we won't get those calls at home either.    Somebody at the head office wants them to give Harden the Dwayne Wade treatment and make him a superstar.

The Pelicans played a great game, especially Ryan and AD.   It's too bad Holiday and Evans were so off on their shooting, and we had to play versus eight...

Clef504
Clef504

Writers, one question, have you guys given Monty the link to this site?

He needs to read this. You guys bring logic, but it seems like he does the exact opposite.

Probably benches Ajinca and give Roberts extra minutes

504ever
504ever

@Pelican Poster 

It would have to be for Gordon AND only waive Bynum Jan 7th to clear cap space!

AlecArmentor
AlecArmentor

@isthisyourhomeworklawrence Bynum's series of knee issues and especially reports of lack of interest are poisonous to any team.  The last thing we need is a Bynum nightmare scenario like the 76ers had last year where we're paying a guy for little or no production or desire to be on the team.  Elite players, or any real professionals in the game NEVER have reports coming out about their disinterest in the game or deal with suspensions for conduct within the team.  Everything about him smells bad and the Pelicans should just turn their beaks away.

And can someone give EG some credit, I think he's had a great year when healthy, lets hope this little injury doesn't take 2 seasons to mend.

Beat H Town!

504ever
504ever

@isthisyourhomeworklawrence  

It looks like Bynum is done in the league.  Nevertheless, a Bynum trade would allow us to save half of his $12M annual salary this year and all of it next year by waiving him before Jan 7th.  So we could ship out Gordon and get rid of Gordon's salary, which I am a huge fan of.

The following trades involving Gordon and Bynum work via trade machine: Gordon for Bynum, Gordon for Bynum + Clark, Gordon for Bynum + Miles, Gordon for Bynum + Clark + Miles and Gordon + Rivers for Bynum + Miles.  I expect the best we can get are the first or last one.  I just hope Cleveland does one of them.

Clef504
Clef504

I wish. This team has a track record of letting good role players go cause they don't develop quick enough. If they're not an immediate impact rookie we trade them for overpaid FA.

Papa Pelican
Papa Pelican

If they only had that Henry fella because Roberts & Rivers are true scrubs if Monty can take his head out his yass and trade Rivers and Roberts.

Papa Pelican
Papa Pelican

The reason he's a scrub because this guy really thought he was NBA ready wrong a year or two back at DUKE he would be an top 3 pick but i don't think most of us are going to wait another season or two Rivers to prove it going to take a coaching chane for that to be possible.

Clef504
Clef504

Welcome to my dream brother. I've never heard of a guard that has the work ethic, talent, and.....he does what is asked of him, anywhere else in the nba. You can tell he's trying hard to please others. I think he shot more at his one year at duke than both years in the league. He wants to be a point guard....give him his chance

Sports_Guy
Sports_Guy

@Clef504 EXACTLY everyone dismisses rivers as a scrub. Instead monty wishes to play a 28 year old d league in front a top 10 pick. How did anthony davis get so good? Monty gave him minutes. Austin should be getting 18 minutes a night. the playing time will develop his talent.

Clef504
Clef504

I liked Henry and I don't feel like we gave him a chance but I haven't given up on Rivers. His heart and desire with the talent he has.....if he would've stayed in college and bettered his craft.....he could easily be way better. Since he joined the nba and don't get the playing time he would in college, it's stunting his growth