Pelicans find three point shot and Gordon finishes off Pistons

Published: January 25, 2014

If one team can make a run, the other team is probably capable of doing the same.  That’s pretty much what happened tonight as the Pelicans went on a sick 17-2  run, took a nice lead, and then allowed the Pistons to make their own 22-6 run in return.  The Pistons were up 10 with five minutes to go, and then the Pelicans – Morrow and Gordon – started sinking threes.  Despite a series of putbacks by Drummond, the Pistons couldn’t maintain their lead, and the Pelicans claimed a 99-98 lead on an Anthony Davis bucket.  After exchanging some shots, the Pelicans had the ball with the score tied and 19 seconds left.  Eric Gordon isolated at the top of the key, eschewed the long shot, drove the basket, reversed, drove again, and sank a floater as Josh Smith tried to come over to block it.  Ball game.

I want to celebrate the win, but that huge Pistons run in the middle of the game did sour me some.  The natural inclination for some is to blame Monty – or say the Pistons know how to make adjustments and the Pelicans don’t.  The truth is that the Pelicans ball-handling just got sloppy.  I said it in the game preview, the Pistons are very, very good at forcing turnovers, and the Pelicans starting coughing them up in bunches.  The Pistons triggered off those turnovers and got bunches of easy shots by stealing in bound passes, lazy perimeter passes, and a couple flat out clean picks of ball-handlers. Everyone got into this act – Gordon got the lions share of turnovers but during the brutal run, it wasn’t his fault, mostly, as the entire team suffered from a continuous brain fart.

Regardless off the runs, there were some very important developments in this game.  First, Monty rode Austin Rivers at the point for long stretches of the game, including crunch time.  Rivers responded with a solid game.  Oddly in came in the face of Roberts actually playing well, as Brian was knocking down his shots.

Second, Monty gave Withey a good chunk of time, including rotating him onto the floor for defensive substitutions during crunch time.  Once again, part of that was due to Greg Stiemsma fouling everything that moved near him, but the fact Monty went with him instead of Ajinca tells us that he’s starting to trust his rookie.  That’s good.

Other observations:

  • One of the effects of the Davis, Stiemsma, Withey, Ajinca front line?  Yet another opponent with a 20-20 game.  These guys just can’t handle physically strong bangers in the post.  All of those guys also like to go hard after blocks, which leaves their guy open to crash the boards.  It showed tonight.  Drummond was getting free non-stop.
  • Jennings gets hot for stretches, and then cools down quickly.  Thankfully, he always still thinks he’s hot.
  • Morrow was stroking it tonight.  11 shots – 21 points.  Too bad he can’t get it going like that more often – though I do cringe at his defense.  On one play he was supposed to trail Kyle Singler through a pair of staggered screens.   Singler, hardly fleet of foot, cleared the second screen,  flared out six feet, caught the ball, turned, dribbled three times – and then Morrow caught up.   I guess we should just be glad that Singler was looking for another teammate to post up, rather than shooting.
  • For about 8 minutes in the second quarter, Rivers was a difference maker, getting penetration and wreaking havoc.  One of the Pistons changes in the third was to hedge hard on pick and rolls in an effort to contain his penetration.  It worked, and his good game descended sharply as he struggled to find a way to attack the Pistons defense.
  • Where did Withey’s blocks go on the stat sheet.  I’m pretty sure I remember at least 2 shots he got his fingers on.
  • Davis had a mediocre game offensively, but as usual, he managed to still have an impact by playing long-armed contain defense on Josh Smith.  That kept Smith as a jump-shooter for much of the game.

Next game is Sunday vs Orlando!



  1. Jason Quigley

    January 25, 2014 at 1:18 am

    I was cheering at the final buzzer, but is it bad that I was still almost sad we won? I just know that Philadelphia is going to end up with a #6 pick…

  2. champsworld504

    January 25, 2014 at 1:38 am

    Hey Morrow, where was this type of game when we were almost at .500? Now you wanna show up? Ok, I let that steam off, good win. Probably wrecked our tank, but let’s be real: Sac, Bos and Phi all SUCK! It’s not even close. I watched them all 2nite and I don’t believe they can win 10 games COMBINED! Keep the youth movement going. More Rivers, Withey and Miller please.

  3. mrcatz22

    January 25, 2014 at 2:11 am

    Jason Quigley The box score of this game just made me wish we could trade Gordon for a solid big man, why can’t I be happy with Pelicans basketball ever?

  4. NOEngineer

    January 25, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Once Withey went in in the 4th, the offensive rebounds for the Pistons dropped off considerably.  The missed free throw where they got two was the exception, where it was tougher to get his body on Monroe or Drummond.  Otherwise I was impressed.  I agree he had some nice blocks and steals last night.

    My starting lineup (when Jrue is hurt, of course) of Withey, Davis, Aminu, Morrow, and Roberts did get to play for a bunch of minutes in the 2nd when we made our run.    They looked great!

    I’m glad Gordon hit that last shot so we won, but unfortunately it took some of the stink off of his terrible game.  7 freakin turnovers!!!!!!     How about calling a time out if you’ve fallen down and you can’t get up, instead of feeding the fast break?   His lack of ability to think in real time makes him a huge liability.   He has the yips if you want to use a golf term.  He cannot be a point guard against a decent defense.

    Austin is up to about 50% “Good Austin” each game.    Nice improvement.   If he becomes consistent with that, he will be an NBA player.   Roberts is still ahead of him due to his efficient shooting most nights, but their contrasting styles make them a good pair of backup guards.

  5. GerryV

    January 25, 2014 at 10:06 am

    If you can’t defend you better be able to shoot the ball in a way that makes God cry with joy.

  6. pels4life

    January 25, 2014 at 10:41 am

    I like when roberts is in foul trouble it means rivers gets more pt and withey should be ahead of stiemsa in the lineup

  7. Nithenz

    January 25, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Great to see this win. Still cant understand why some fans prefer losing when its obvious we wont get any draft pick next year, so why not trying to create a winning culture even if we end up 9th in the west. How many lotteries did Sacramento had over the last 10 years? why people think ANOTHER young player will get us over the hump. Winning will do that. Free agents will prefer going to some place that looks on the brink of decent basketball instead of a team that hopes NEXT year will be good when some rookie come and saves the day. We already have lots of young promising players, now lets start winning, get some veteran players with strong character and light a candle to the health gods.

  8. NOEngineer

    January 26, 2014 at 8:42 am

    xman20002000NOEngineer  i think with a few less Gordon turnovers during the game, we would have been up by 10 instead of tied, and our last shot would have been one of many victory formation free throws.    
    He played worse than Roberts or Rivers, and earns 10X more than they do.   He has done that several times in the past 5 games, with no apparent injury excuse.   He doesn’t even move toward balls in the air or hustle after loose balls.  He plays on-ball defense extremely well, but only when he decides it is important.  He botches fast breaks with regularity, and won’t defend the other team on their fast breaks.  He rarely moves without the ball to get open for three-point shots.  He wastes shot clock dribbling between his legs, so is no upgrade in early offense over Roberts, Rivers, or Vasquez.   Referees have decided his drives don’t warrant free throws if routine contact occurs.  He has not been a leader.    He disappears in the 4th (with the exception of that one shot against Detroit which Rivers could have taken if chosen).
    Please let me know which of these points are in dispute, and offer me the positives to offset my list of negatives.   I’m not saying he should never play, but that until he eliminates the strong negatives that he can control related to effort, I would have him in a bench role behind Morrow.    If we can bench Aminu to get him to be more purposeful, why can’t we bench Gordon?

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