I readily admit Michael knows a lot more about NBA basketball than I do, so if he can't figure out how Eric Gordon can dominate the first half against the Pacers and then disappear in the 2nd half, then I won't even take a stab at it. Last night's game, however, was reminiscent of the first several games of this season without Ryan Anderson available to come of the bench and make our opponent fearful of (and concerned about defending) our 3 point shooting. Seeing Ryan carried off the court on a stretcher should remind all Pelicans fans what these men risk every night and how fragile they are. It's no coincidence that the Pacers have been one of the healthiest teams so far this year and also have the best record in the league.
« Game On: New Orleans Pelicans @ Indiana Pacers
An Indifferent Difference »
Indiana Blitzes New Orleans in the Second Half, Defeat Pelicans 99-82
It was good while it lasted. For the second straight time, the Pelicans thouroughly outplayed the Pacers in the first half, but blew the lead in the final two quarters. Tonight, it was one monster run that did the Pelicans in, as Indiana went on a 18-0 run midway through the third quarter. The Pelicans made a few surges here and there, but never really got back into the game, and wound up losing 99-82.
Paul George led the Pacers with 24 points and 10 boards, but Louisiana native Danny Granger arguably provided Indiana the biggest spark in the second half, drilling some three’s and getting to the line. He came off the bench and gave Indiana 13 points, while Lance Stephenson also caught fire in the third quarter and finished with 19 points despite starting just 1-5 from the field.
The Pelicans, meanwhile, struggled when the Pacers decided to pack the paint defensively. Without Ryan Anderson, they couldn’t make the Pacers pay and even their shots in the paint weren’t falling. There was minimal ball movement tonight, as the Pelicans tended to just isolate for much of the game. The team finished with more turnovers (17) than assists (15) as a result.
It was a game that practically nobody expected the Pelicans to win, but the first half got hopes up. It’s obvious that the Pelicans can compete and even outplay great teams in spurts, but they have only maintained in for 48 minutes once this season. They leave this game having defeated just one team currently over .500, and are 6-12 on the road.
Notes and Observations
– Eric Gordon was fantastic in the first half. He was flying to the basket, stepping into three’s and drilling them, and even setting up his teammates from time to time. Then he drops four points and zero assists in the second half. Why? That’s the thing, I don’t even know. I have seen this happen multiple times now with Gordon, and I have no idea who is at fault. Does Gordon get winded? Does Monty forget about him? Do teams adjust and he can’t score when he is the focus of the defense? I don’t know. I honestly don’t even have a hypothesis.
– Jrue Holiday had a great stretch in the middle of the second quarter where he drained a couple of shots. Even took George Hill into the post and made him look foolish. After that, he was nowhere to be found.
– The Pelicans made a conscious effort early to have everyone crash the defensive boards. Ironically, it kind of backfired as several Pacers shots missed and came out long and there were no Pelicans do be found. They tried several things tonight, but nothing seemed to work as the Pacers offensive rebound percentage was over 30.
– Alexis Ajinca had, by far, his best game as a Pelican. 17 points on just 7 shots and a posterizing dunk on Hibbert. A slow footed guy like Hibbert is a good matchup for him, and he might be able to dominate the offensive glass against an undersized Miami team in the next game.
– Jeff Withey got some playing time tonight.
– Despite Ajinca looking serviceable, I don’t know how many games this team can win with Stiemsma and Ajinca getting 53 minutes. Smith and/or Anderson need to come back for that Dallas home and home series.
– Speaking of Ryan Anderson, still no updates yet. Hoping for the best.
– Writing this recap in the second quarter of the Saints game. If they win, they have to pound the rock on offense and blitz effectively on defense to have a chance at Seattle.
Thinking the same about Gordon.... Cant understand why he seems 2 different players from half to half. No one expected us to win, but when you can get a 14 pts lead, you have to mantein the momentum as much as possible. also, those 18-0 runs...Havent seen lots of those this year, but those happened so many times last year...I think that IS on Monty. Please, call a timeout, call Carlisle and ask him what the fuck to do to score a point!
Gordon's first half was impressive. So was Ajinca's. If either could consistently deliver that type of performance they would deserve a max contract. Oh, wait.....
Gordon does seem winded after a small amount of burn. His lack of effort on 50/50 balls was glaring, as was his utter confusion whenever someone puts a body in front of him, He made several turrible passes in that situation. I think he cannot think of more than one thing at a time. If someone alters Option A, there is no Option B in his mind and he can't create one in real time. His failure to even attempt gathering in a loose ball on the floor at the end of the game warrants benching in my book. Shameful. He acts like the game is happening to him, not something he can impact. The opposite of leadership!
Withey was ineffective out there, but he was one of the few trying. He was shocked when someone actually passed him the ball at 100 mph, and blew it. I still want to see more.
Didn't expect to win a second of back to back against maybe the best team in the league. We have some really good pieces and we are young and will improve over time. However we also have big holes at center, SF and a very weak bench after Evans. When one inconsistent player takes up 25% of the salary space then it becomes very difficult to improve significantly. Especially when that player is most likely not tradeable in the next year and a half.
@xman20002000 Actually, we proved the opposite, that we need outside shooting options like Anderson (Morrow???) to be healthy and utilized. We need Gordon and Holiday to get open for 3-pointers and take them. The last 5 or 6 games I noticed that Anderson is not moving around off the ball to make himself available for 3-point opportunities. Gordon made a few such moves in the first half, and Roberts maybe one or two later. Our offense is packing the paint when Anderson is in the game, with him stepping back out of the paint for fade-aways. Not sure why...
We need to find a way to take more decent 3s. Our percentage is high enough that we should make enough to open up the defense a bit more inside. One thing that would help is for Gordon to kick the ball out once in a while (OK, Evans too....) for a corner three by someone other than Aminu. Why that man spends so much time in the corner is beyond me....
You're right no one expected the Pels to win this game and frankly, it was an after thought with the Saints in the playoffs. But checking in on the score, I was surprised to see them leading, but felt that it wouldn't last for long since we historically have third quarter woos and can't close out games. I was proud to see Alexis Ajinca have a breakout game just wondering if it's going to turn into something solid for us. I agree that EG10 fizzles but can't explain why. Let's hope we can do damage in Miami.
Then he drops four points and zero assists in the second half. - That's EG, inconsistent play with no leadership for this young team. The reason we can't trade EG's $15m contract is not the injuries but his play when he's healthy. Average at best over the long term. It will be 2016 before we can unload this contract that strangles the Pels future in this salary capped league.
The rebounding is what kills us. Late 3rd/early 4th quarter killed me to watch because of how easily the rebounds were falling to the Pacers.
I was glad we had the lead early, knew it wouldn't last, but didn't think it'd end THAT badly, geez...
Tonight the pacers denied Eric the ball in the second half. Other nights the ball doesn't get to him for whatever reason