Pelicans Suffer Another Tough Loss, This Time to Houston

It is becoming a reoccurring story – The Pelicans get another “moral victory” against a playoff-bound team. The home opener against Indiana was one such victory. Golden State at home, Portland on the road, and then again tonight at Houston, with their 107-98 loss. In all of these games, the Pelicans held leads late and simply weren’t able to close out the more experienced teams. Understandably, fans are getting tired of these moral victories, but sooner than later they will be a thing of the past.

The Pelicans simply didn’t have an answer for Dwight Howard tonight, as he scored 24 points on 12 shots and grabbed 18 rebounds. Ryan Anderson battled him for most of the game, with Davis and Ajinca getting shots at him as well, but nobody could keep him out of the paint. He had just as big of an impact on the defensive end, as he prevented numerous ‘Kobe Assists.’ Both Jrue and Tyreke missed a handful of layups tonight, and usually the Pelicans crash the boards and lay those back in, but not tonight. Not with Dwight on the floor.

But despite Dwight’s dominance, the Rockets won this game on the free throw line, where they outshot the Pelicans 32-8. The Rockets as a team had just 11 fouls (25 for New Orleans), meaning the Pelicans never even got close to sniffing the bonus. The Rockets jumpers weren’t falling, but they didn’t need to tonight, as they got 58 points in the paint and 15 at the line. You might get a “moral victory’ if your defense is that bad, but you won’t get any real ones.

Other Notes and Observations

– Numerous times, Dwight backed a Pelicans defender under the rim, and instead of fouling him they let him dunk. The team knows he is a 54% FT shooter, right?

– Aminu hit three jumpers, including two 3’s. At some point it is not a fluke anymore. Maybe Aminu is finally turning into a respectable outside shooter.

– Speaking of bad shooters gone good, Tyreke Evans made two 3-pointers but missed 9 shots in the paint. A bit of a backwards night for him.

– Jrue Holiday had his worst offensive showing as a Pelican. He missed easy shots, made terrible decisions on his passes, and missed a key free throw down the stretch. Defending James Harden (which he did well) took a lot out of him and it really impacted his offensive game.

– The only player in plus/minus that was positive for the Pelicans? Austin Rivers, who was +11 in his 12 minutes. He knocked down some shots, but what impressed me the most was his speed and control when closing out on D. Has he done enough to take Roberts minutes now? Please?!

– Anthony Morrow bricked his first open shot and airballed his second wide open corner three. After that his confidence was shot and he refused to shoot again. Wisely, Monty didn’t put him back into the game in the second half.

– Ryan Anderson had a great game tonight, but most fans will probably remember the terrible shot he took with a minute left and the Pelicans down 5. It was a step back three that missed the rim, and after the Rockets went down and scored the game was effectively over.

– Sometimes it looks so easy – Throw the ball at the rim and let AD go and get it. But Tyreke seems to be the only guy who looks for him on a regular basis. 18 points on 14 shots for AD tonight. He should have got 18-20 shots.

– Jason Smith returned tonight and gave the Pelicans a spark in the first half, scoring 8 points in limited minutes. He slowed down a bit in the second half, but finished with 10 points and 4 rebounds in just 15 minutes. If he can play 15-20 minutes against second units, he will be far more effective for this team.

– Ajinca has size, but his agility is lacking. Against a team like Houston, it is hard to get him minutes. On one play, Dwight just went around him like he was standing in quick sand. Luckily, not every team has a Dwight. Portland is up next and Ajinca should fare well against the Robin Lopez’s and Joel Freeland’s of the world.

19 responses to “Pelicans Suffer Another Tough Loss, This Time to Houston”

  1. Totally agree, I would like to see more offensive touches for Davis. The Pelicans are not talented enough to withstand that bad of a night from the PG. Good fight, though.

  2. 21 shots for Tyreke, most of them in the paint.  ZERO free throws.   He was bumped as much as Harden.  Yeah, we fouled Dwight a lot, but we did not settle for jumpers as much as usual, drew a lot of contact (Evans, Davis, Anderson, and Smith), and still didn’t get diddly from the zebras.   Typical travesty….

    The two missed free throws by Anderson and Holiday hurt.   I would like to see Anderson try to get fouled when shooting his threes more often, so that he shoots more free throws or gets more space.  Peja had the same reluctance to absorb contact on his 3-pointers.   If they are going to give 3 shots to Parsons for his swing-through then make them call it the other way.  Instead, he side-stepped the contact and threw up a brick.

  3. Tonight, Anderson showed Houston what they desperately wished they had and why an Anderson/Asik swap ain’t happening. I wasn’t expecting a victory tonight but to lose it in a close game down the stretch to a Texas team really hurts. Fortunately the team is clearly getting better every game.

  4. When do you think this website might get behind a Tyreke for sixth man of the year campaign? I hear things like Reggie Jackson, IsaiahThomas and Markeif Morris. I think Tyreke can beat those guys.
    Whaddaya think?

  5. Ive always been a huge Ryan Anderson fan going back to his early days in Orlando, but I’ve seen it a lot recently, and as pointed out in this article, he has taken a lot of poor shot selections. He played great tonight, and did exactly what we need him to do, but in the past few weeks, we have seen a lot of what we saw on his final shot attempt; that being a poor quality forced shot. He is the best shooter on our team, and the man needs to shoot, but I feel like he is taking a lot of low quality shots, where as opposed to feeding Davis on the block, he is taking a contested midrange step back jumper. Hit him in transition, when he gets just enough space for a three, and when he has a mismatch down low, but other than that, work the drive and kick with your studly backcourt, and let AD clean up the mess. We saw bits of it tonight, and I loved it, when we penetrate and look for permitter shooters, this team on the offense end is dirty. Overall, this team has gotten a lot better in the past few weeks, its starting to get really exciting.

  6. Monty makes being a STH futile. He is simply a moron who takes all the fun and energy out of being a fan of this team. Very ready to move on by now. How on God’s green earth did starting Brian Roberts fresh off his 0/0/3 TO line make any sense to anybody but him? I was screaming at the TV to foul Howard for the better part of the last 4 minutes. He rebounds the ball with 40 seconds left and we don’t foul? That’s bushleague coaching at it’s finest. You can quit saying “the team” and start saying “Monty” now.

  7. xman20002000 mateor Yeah, over the last 8 years the 6 man winner has been on a team that had 50 or more wins. Usually, closer to 60

  8. Firing Monty is not the answer….This is a young team…..It takes time to grow as a unit, We are a few players away from being a playoff team…..Not bad…

  9. Once everyone is healthy, then Anderson can come off the bench again, with him starting I think it takes to much out of him and he begins to press…..Stemsma will help and we must get Ajinca more time in the middle to close down the paint …whether he fouls out or not, we need that along with a grittier attitude guarding the rim

  10. After watching the success of the trailblazers the importance of having a more traditional lineup with a true 1,2,3 etc. is clear. Every game that goes on, I have less faith in how this team is built. Anderson and either gordon or evans (preferably Gordon) must be traded for a ‘real’ center and small forward. What Pelicans team would you rather have?



  11. Tell me if I’m wrong.  I hate using this as an excuse, but am I the only who thinks the Pelicans are getting hosed by the refs?  Throughout the season, there have seemed to be numerous plays where Pelicans players are getting everything short of punches and kicks to the face at the rim, and are not getting to the free throw line.  And take Tyreke’s foul on Chandler Parsons as an example.  It was so ticky tack, and Parsons went to the line to shoot three free throws.  And at the same time, Eric Gordon has been taking it to the rim all season, and has been getting waxed with no calls.  I realize you have to play better than the refs, but in a close game like this, and the one in Portland, missed calls on one end, and ticky tack calls on the other can be the difference.  And don’t give me the “you have to earn the respect of the refs” argument.  The ref’s job is to be fair, not to admire good basketball, and play favorites.  When that happens, they become fans, not officials.  NBA officiating is an absolute joke.

  12. lsucpolkAgree 100%.   Even though our guys typically try to avoid the contact, if the same amount and type of contact were equally penalized I think our free throw disparity would be cut in half.  If that happened, maybe our guys would seek out more contact.  Right now it makes little sense to absorb a beating if there is no appropriate reward.   There have always been certain teams that got away with more contact than their opponent.  The Rivers Celtics, the Sloan Jazz, the Bulls, the current Thunder and Heat and Rockets are examples.   Its a shame, but I keep buying season tickets….

  13. Benson Boogie 
    Detroit isn’t giving up Monroe and Villanueva’s expiring for Gordon’s horrible contract, and we aren’t trading an underpaid star like Anderson for some minor pieces with poor PERs.  
    There is a reason trade machine says we will lose 4 more games because of this trade.  It’s the Anderson part of the trade being so bad it outweighs all of the good of the Gordon part of the trade!

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