Pelicans drop threes to take down Timberwolves

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Published: February 8, 2014

Through three quarters, the Pelicans were being grinded slowly to death by the Timber wolves defense.  When they got into the paint, the shots they get were tough or just plain bad.  They had trouble keeping their dribble alive as the Timberwolves simply packed the paint, denying easy shots at the rim.  On the opposite end, the Timberwolves pump-faked, flailed, collapsed and tossed themselves about, drawing free throw after free throw, ending with 37 attempts to the Pelicans 16.  This pushed the Wolves lead to 12 by early in the fourth quarter.

Then, the Pelicans decided that if the Wolves wanted to pack the paint, they were going to simply shoot over it.  Monty went small, playing Davis at center, Luke Babbitt or Aminu at Power Forward, and surrounding them with combinations of Gordon, Morrow, Rivers and Roberts.   And the shots fell.  Some shots fell that had no business falling – but they fell nonetheless, putting the Wolves in a hole on a 14-2 run, and a series of shots by Roberts, Davis and Morrow put the game away 98-91.

Davis was a beast as always, but the best thing I saw from him all night was the way he was defending the high pick and pop with Kevin Love.  He simply didn’t give Love any room.  I can’t credit him with more than one of the 6 misses Love had from downtown tonight – simply because usually Davis forced Love to put the ball on the floor when he was defending him.  Most of those shots came against other defenders.  Coupled with his usual array of jumpers, transition dunks and quick-step assaults on the rim, Davis had everything rolling tonight as he finished with 26 and 10.

Other Observations

  • Babbitt got 19 minutes tonight serving as a stretch four and though his shooting wasn’t on, his shot looked good, and he was mixing it up well for rebounds.  His ability to stretch the floor also earned him important fourth-quarter minutes that Anderson normally would have gotten.  The worst part of Babbitt’s game?  Any player with a modicum of speed get by him with ease.  He is a perimeter player offensively, but definitely not defensively.
  • Tyreke Evans struggled terribly tonight.  With the Wolves packing the paint on him, he could get nothing going and kept dribbling into trouble and throwing up bad shots.  He had a couple nice passes, but really, he looked like he was struggling physically as well.  I’d rather have Tyreke get well, then come back when healthy.  Partial Tyreke is a problem.
  • Roberts had moments that were great – and moments that were head-scratchingly awful.  Happily, that shot at the end to put the Pelicans up big has erased our memory of his forays into the paint with no where to go.  Right?
  • Morrow gets pumped when his shot starts going down, and tonight he had some huge shots.  Then he went into hero mode and tried a double crossover pull up 20-foot two pointer without passing the ball at all.  It was almost an Airball.  He needs to stick to shooting on the catch.
  • The best Morrow moment was at the with just a minute and a half left in the game.  He was guarding Corey Brewer.  Rubio missed a shot and tumbled into Morrows legs, taking him out.  As he fell onto Rubio, Morrow fell backwards and pulled Brewer down on him., creating a Morrow sandwich.  As Brewer struggled away to try to get up, Morrow grabbed him and used him to lever himself off the ground, pushing Brewer back down again.  He then ran to the wing three point mark as Rubio and Brewer still tried to get up, caught a pass, and drilled a big three in transition.  Good stuff.
  • Gordon really, really struggled on the drive tonight – but his jumper was pure.
  • I can’t tell if it’s just the injuries Kevin Love was playing through, but he seemed pretty joyless out there.  Even on his biggest plays, he just looked like he’d rather be playing Parcheesi somewhere or something.  What did you think?

Next game is Sunday in Brooklyn!

 

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