Pelicans Lose a “Close” Game to the Bobcats

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Published: February 21, 2014
Game Recap Lose 2

Results matter, but they don’t matter as much as the process. I know it seems like a tired old sports cliché, but it is true. Let me explain. A lot of different variables and factors dictate the outcome of any game in any sport, and it is impossible to control for all of these variables.  That means that the outcome of an NBA game is never absolutely determined. Someone could get injured. A bad call could happen. You could always lose.

Of course, that also means you could always win. You could absolutely stink for 3 and a half quarters, then you hit a couple of low percentage shots, get a lucky turnover, and now you are back in the game. That doesn’t mean you’re the better team or that you even played well. You still may have lost 99 out of 100 times. This is just the one time it all came together for you

If it isn’t clear yet, here is where I’m going with this. The Pelicans didn’t play well tonight. I don’t care that they were in the game at the end. They shouldn’t have been. There were poor shot choices. There were poor line-up decisions made. It just wasn’t winning basketball all around. At the end of the day, we can thank an 81% free throw shooter for missing a couple of free throws a the end of the game to keep us in it a bit longer.

I’m sorry for being a Debbie downer, but these types of losses are some of the most difficult. The ones you don’t deserve to win, but you still have a chance at the very end. Anyway, here are some of my notes from the game.

 

Nick’s Notes

1)   I told you Al Jefferson has been playing really well lately. By the end of the game, his stat line wasn’t all that impressive. He had 33 points on 30 shots, but also had 4 turnovers. Still, he started off the game aggressive and made us pay down low.

2)   So it took a while to figure out that AD was our best option on Jefferson. I figured that would happen, but I’m not sure why anyone would think that Stiemsma would do a better job than Ajinca.

3)   We saw a couple of odd line-ups tonight. I was excited to see something new and creative, but I really couldn’t understand why weren’t putting more shooters on the floor with our second unit. Tyreke needs at least two guys who are above average shooters with him.

4)   Speaking Tyreke, that was rough. He totaled 4 points on 2-13 shooting with a turnover. He did have 7 assists and 5 rebounds, though. But it took him 25 minutes.

5)   I have been hard on Brian Roberts before, but he deserves some credit. He has played well since the Atlanta game earlier this month and was a rare bright spot tonight.

6)   We attempted 11 free throws. They attempted 36. Again, that isn’t winning basketball.

7)   We did get up and hit a decent amount of threes tonight. There’s that.

8)   Davis fouled out tonight. I believe it was the first foul out of his career.

9)   When people asked me if Monty deserved to be fired or if he was a bad coach, I answered honestly and said I didn’t know. I am NOT ready to say either of those things now, but it feels like the same mistakes are being made again and again. Players aren’t the only ones who can develop in a NBA franchise. Coaches can grow and improve, but we can’t keep trying what hasn’t worked.

 

The Pelicans next game is tomorrow at 6 PM against the Washington Wizards.

21 comments
GerryV
GerryV

Too much of trying to desect every lil thing that happens with this team....One must simple observe the other teams in the West and compare the talents/over all play....Anderson and Holiday not being available has taken its toll on a roster that cannot endure the loss of these two players...the team is not built to handle that.....some Monty obervations are absurd as he can only do so much with the players at hand....watch the eleite teams in the West and ask yourself..."Can the Pelicans beat them in a 7 game series?".....However i would like to see a couple of tenacious personality types added to the team ....that would help the defense.

Come On Pelican
Come On Pelican

No matter how many "Fire Monty" cries we hear, the truth is Monty Williams’ scheme depends on a solid starting center, and Dell Demps knows it’s not prudent to judge this head coach’s performance before giving him one. Starting at least 4 different 5’s this year hasn’t worked, because none are legitimate NBA starting centers. Anthony Davis has been amazing this season, but Al Jefferson proved last night AD is not an NBA starting 5. Sure, Davis can play the 5 at points during games, depending on matchups and scenarios, but his strength is at PF. So let’s stop trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It made sense at the time for Demps to match the Suns’ offer, but in hindsight Eric Gordon is currently untradeable and his contract has become an albatross around the franchise’s neck. It’s also apparent there aren’t many good 5’s out there (there are only about 12-15 legitimate starting centers in today's NBA), meaning half the teams don’t have one on their roster. In the end, Demps knows Coach’s scheme requires a legitimate starting center and that he needs to figure out how to deliver one. He failed to sign one before the trade deadline. Now, the next step is trying to shore up the roster during the offseason. Let’s hope our GM can figure out how to deliver a good big man, because both his and Coach Williams’ job security at the end of the 2014-15 season may depend on it.

GerryV
GerryV

Pelican bigs have slow tootsies…it is what it is.

Pluto D
Pluto D

These rotations are really starting to worry me. We trot out this same starting lineup with two offensive black holes (Ajinca + Aminu) and get the same results. Ajinca can never get out of his own way, so he picks up STUPID fouls early in EVERY GAME.  After he's done enough, he's replaced by Greg Stiemsma, like that's going to change anything. Too slow to guard anything that moves and picks up more fouls, and therefore free throws. These two guys combine for 30 minutes a night. 

We rarely see any creative lineups until the 4th quarter, when we "miraculously" start playing faster and with more energy. That's when we see the three-guard lineups, or the AD-Aminu-Babbit frontcourt, which is intriguing. It's always these super-conventional lineups until the 4th Q. 

Why aren't Tyreke and Gordon playing more TOGETHER? I keep seeing one subbed out for the other, because "that's just what we're going to do."

Why does Austin Rivers only see 10 minutes tonight after a very strong performance last game against NY?

I was really hoping we'd trade for Jordan Hill. Apparently all the Lakers wanted in return was a 2nd round pick. Hill would've been a MASSIVE upgrade at Center and Dell said they were desperate to put a big man next to AD. Seems like he would've been a great fit. What happened? Maybe since it's a contract year for him and all? I dk....I can't stand watching these human foul machines any more. 

I don't want to rag on Monty. Being a head coach is a tough job, but it really seems like he's just too stubborn with his rotations. He's expecting different results by doing the same things. It's very concerning to me. 

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

We put our slowest-footed big men on Jefferson throughout the first half, and they got abused.  Withey finally got in when Jefferson sat down.  I would have liked to see Withey on Jefferson, to test his ability.   Why not?

Once again, Rivers and Withey/Davis were not on the same page on P&R defense a few times, allowing the legendary Cody Zeller to roll in for slam or draw the foul.  I don't know which was at fault, but they both ended up guarding the ball handler and ignoring the roll man.

Evans made Rivers look good at the rim tonight.  That was all kinds of uuuggglllyyy.  No clue what is going on with him.  Sit him down for Rivers for a few games.

More stupid moving screens by Ajinca and Stiemsma.  Evans needs to slow down and let a guy get set, and the bigs need to stop trying to get away with cheap stuff. The whistle is half blown when the ref sees either of them moving into the area....

Why is Stiemsma in when we are down 3 with under a minute left?   How about Babbitt, who could hit a three?   And Gordon dribbling the ball in the clutch is almost always a disaster.   His only move is to attempt to draw contact.  He actually does, and he blows the free throw.   What a (c)loser.....

Two teams in a row managed to get their best scorer about 30 shots against us.   Our two best got 28 shots total.  Davis kicks it out to Evans for a 3?  To Aminu for a long 2?    WTF?



mateor
mateor

I think a furious tank job may be in our future. The Hornets didn't tank in 2012 season even though we were in the running for the 1st overall. But the possibility of losing a draft pick completely...hard season.

bradlaborde
bradlaborde

I only watched the 1st half then went to the parade. The outcome was obvious. The pelicans were out coached and out played by a franchise that went out of their way to acquire Gary Neal.

A house cleaning is needed here. My fear is that Avery Johnson is T. Benz's solution. If so, I abandon ship.

jmald1
jmald1

ok u right wen u say dat young coaches need to learned but it been 4 damn season already cmon man really we need a new direction as da coach a new face and someone dat peaches da best player  get on the court because withey nd miller is mia dats perfectly way to desricbe whats monty doin to dem 

adfly
adfly

He's not a good coach. Anyone that thinks GREG STEIMSMA anytime on the court needs to rethink their choices in life. Every game its the same criticism of Monty bad lineups. Coaches can't control what happens on the court but he can control who is on the court and when. We can all agree that has been done portly

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

@Come On Pelican Every year or two, a center that was previously NOT a starting center becomes one.   Hibbert is an example.   I think Withey could if he bulks up in few years, but I'd like to see more of his game against starters before making that call.  Ajinca has the height and length and maybe even the base, but needs years of work to learn how to control his body and work in the post.   Smith is too mature to hope for much growth, and Stiemsma lacks all of the physical tools.   So we need to leverage Smith and Gordon and Stiemsa into a bulky, wise big man to take that spot and mentor Withey and Ajnca.   Who is it?

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

@GerryV Sorry, but my eyes tell me that Withey is much more mobile than Stiemsma and Ajinca (and Smith).   I think on the ball he is on par with Davis in that regard, but with less hops and shorter arms limiting his ability to block shots away from the rim.    

I would like to see all of these guys stay around the rim and stop hedging near the arc.  That would cut down on fouls, improve our rebounding, and limit the number of easy rolls to the basket.   

xman20002000
xman20002000

@champsworld504   Now yours is the most sensible question of them all...  Evans is supposed to be our 6th man scoring what...  Then they hate on Monty Williams... who is not missing layups... 

xman20002000
xman20002000

@Pluto D   These are the players that we have...  fortunately many are on very short term contracts...  and many weren't in camp...  And believe it or not yours in the only comment stating the Lakers wanted a 2nd round pick for Hill... you can't be serious...

504ever
504ever

@NOEngineer

Rivers goes 1-5 with 1 assist in 10 minutes (and was -9) and you want him to play more???  No wonder Monty can't win with some fans.

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

@bradlaborde I also have a strong dislike of Avery Johnson.   He is annoying to me, so I can imagine how the players feel.   Hopefully his stint with the Nets has removed some of the shine from his Dallas years and we go another way.   I agree with Gerry that he is always hanging around, and we may settle for him.

GerryV
GerryV

@bradlaborde  and he does lurk in the background peeking over the shoulder…its becoming a little to obvious isn't it?

504ever
504ever

@NOEngineer @GerryV

Look at Withey's change of direction, and stops and starts.  That's where the problem is. I think you are looking at speed once Withey get going and possibly mobility at speed.  That is something completely different.

bradlaborde
bradlaborde

I finished the game and stand by my comment. Free throws 3 & 4 with 6:00 left in the game. I didn't know that was possible in any level of basketball. March and April are going to be tough

bradlaborde
bradlaborde

That is correct. Did I break a rule?