Ugly First Half Spells Doom for the Pelicans

Twenty-eight points in the first half. 28. Twenty and then eight. Just wanted to make sure people understand that it was not a typo. The Pelicans scored 28 points in the first half, and despite a valiant effort in the second half, they still fell to the Brooklyn Nets 93-81. The offense fell back into bad habits, as they took far too many long two’s, and even when they got to the line, they couldn’t hit (15-27). They took a limited number of three’s and missed those too, as numerous shots just went in and out.

You have nights like this where nothing seems to fall, and on the other end, you have to give Brooklyn some credit. They played with a ton of energy in the first half and hit some difficult shots. The part that hurts is that it wasn’t the stars who beat New Orleans, but rather, guys like Mason Plumlee and Alan Anderson. Garnett, Pierce, and Deron Williams got just 55 minutes combined, and Joe Johnson added just 23 minutes despite playing well early.

What is encouraging is that this young team battled back despite being down by 27 at one point in the second quarter. Numerous times they cut the lead down to 7, and they looked like they had a legit shot at completing the comeback. You are going to have nights where nothing seems to fall, but that is where you see the true character of a team. Tonight, we saw that this is a team that is devoid of offensive talent due to a bunch of injuries, but it is not a team that lacks heart.

Other Notes and Observations

– Luke Babbitt doesn’t lack confidence, and whether he makes or misses them, Babbitt needs to take every open three he gets. The idea of Babbitt is even more impactful for the Pelicans than Babbitt himself, as he opens up the lane for everyone regardless of whether he is on or not. On defense, he plays with effort and energy, though he is severely limited in some ways. Should be fun to see him with Tyreke and maybe even Jrue a bit moving forward.

– I am personally counting down the days until the Al-Farouq Aminu era ends in New Orleans. He has teased us dozens of times, and there are flashes here and there, but he hurts this team far more than he helps it. Yeah, he can be a decent backup, but we have enough of those guys and we can get reserves cheaper in free agency. Maybe he is here through February 20th, but I can’t imagine he is on the roster at the beginning of next season.

– Austin Rivers always plays hard, and you would think that is faint praise as we talk about guys getting paid millions of dollars to play a game, but he is one of the few guys on this team that I can consistently say that about. Tonight, he had five shots go in and out, and his free throw streak was ended at 17, but I still enjoyed watching him. He still has a ways to go, but there are legitimate reasons to hold out hope that he can be a key contributor when this team gets to where it wants to go.

– Tyreke Evans was reportedly available to play, but Monty decided to not put him out there tonight? Was Monty giving him a rest, so that he could play in the back to back tomorrow night or was he sending a message for the selfish way he played against Minnesota? (Edit: Monty said in the post game that Tyreke not playing is an internal issue.)

– Once Withey gets going, he can get up to decent speeds, but he takes a while to get from first gear to second. On one play in the fourth, he showed on a pick and roll, and then tried to get back to his man and it was like he was running in mud. He is a guy that needs to stand by the rim on defense, but teams pull him out when they see him on the court, and he is probably the worst big on the team in those situations. On a positive note, he was great on the offensive glass tonight.

– Following up a really good 4th quarter on Friday night, Eric Gordon had one of his worst games in a while. His ballhandling looked sloppy and his effort was meh, at best. He and Brian Roberts should exchange paychecks for tonight.

– Anthony Davis had two of the most jaw dropping plays of the night. On the first one, he recovered to block Deron Williams jump shot and leaked out for a dunk. On the second, Austin Rivers threw him a lob that looked like it would hit the ceiling, but Davis grabbed it with ease and slammed it home. The game was ugly, but his performance was pretty. So pretty.

– Missed a ton of shots, energy was average at best, but moving on. Get it back tomorrow at Toronto.

8 responses to “Ugly First Half Spells Doom for the Pelicans”

  1. I can’t understand the DNP – CD for Tyreke tonight. Especially when Aminu and Gordon played as poorly as they did. You don’t pay $11millon for a player to ride the bench. I hope that we are seeing the last days of Eric Gordon and Monty Williams on this team.

  2. I personally think we were still flying high over that W on ESPN and just fell flat on our faces. Nothing more, nothing less.

  3. There is a lot more good in this loss than in most, and it is always nicer when the bad comes first followed by good.

  4. I put this one on Monty, going with small-ball against their very large line-up, and getting stomped inside by Plumlee.   We should have been playing Withey some alongside Babbit/Aminu and Davis/Stiemsma, especially after several consecutive dunks.   Note:  Withey zero fouls in 8 minutes, Stiemsma 4 fouls in 19 minutes, Ajinca 4 fouls in 11 minutes.   On at least two occasions, Withey switched onto Rivers’ man and Rivers let the roll man go straight to the hole unguarded for the dunk, while Rivers guarded nobody.  

    Miller looked absolutely horrible.  Several ineffective fouls for and-1s, hesitation to shoot the 3.  
    Yeah, the first half sucked.   But, we were were only 7 points down when by buddy Dick Bavetta called a phantom 3-seconds followed by a bogus goaltending, both on Stiemsma.   I wish Dick would just retire.  Any time I see him I know we will lose.

    I think we can’t handle success.   That’s a youth problem, but also a coaching problem….

  5. down as big as they were,it was good they didn’t quit….that’s a reflection on the coach, The Pelicans started out playing soft against a veteran team that thrives on being physical….lets this chalk it up as a character builder for the team….

  6. Obviously this Sunday night in Brooklyn was lost due to the Pelicans’ lack of offense in the 1st half. Mostly it was a tale of matchups where the absence of Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans was devastating. Watching Deron Williams guard Brian Roberts brought back memories from last year of how a slow footed point guard destroys a team’s offense. Clearly Roberts is not as slow as Grevius Vasquez, but Deron Williams made him look like he is. And Eric Gordon’s weaknesses as an offensive player were never more on display than when he was defended last night, mostly by Joe Johnson but occasionally by Deron Williams. Not having Holiday and Evans meant the Pels had no one who could consistently penetrate — especially against Brooklyn’s group of wily veterans who are fighting for a playoff spot and who weren’t about to give up a loss at home to a bunch of upstarts from New Orleans. Austin Rivers penetrated better when he replaced Roberts, but all that meant was Williams could occasionally be shifted over to defend Gordon. The fact that every Pelicans player had a negative +/- (except Darius Miller, who had a zero), and every Nets player except two had a positive +/- tells the story. Missing three of the team’s strongest offensive weapons killed any chance the Pelicans had of sneaking in a win in Brooklyn.

  7. Can’t wait til the day Rivers fulfills his potential. It will be such a beautiful day. Seems it isn’t so far away.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.