Pelicans Drop Heartbreaker to Wizards
Published: February 22, 2014
The New Orleans Pelicans dropped a heartbreaker to the Washington Wizards tonight, losing 98-97 on a last second Nene dunk. We’ll talk more about the end of this game in a second, but generally, it was an ugly game, and one that the Pelicans should’ve won. Anthony Davis went to the line with the Pelicans down 1 and 7 seconds to go. He drilled the first free throw, Monty Williams subbed in Aminu and Withey in an attempt to shore up the defense, and then Davis drilled the second shot.
I thought the Withey/Aminu substitutions for defense were the right moves. But there was something missing: Brian Roberts was still in the game. His offense had been crap the whole night, but more concerning was the fact that he was left in for defense. Then the Wizards called timeout and Monty had a chance to rectify his mistake, and he didn’t.
John Wall got the ball and blew by Roberts like he was standing still, and help came over to contain Wall. Wall dumped the ball off to Nene for an easy dunk. The game was over (I don’t count that last ditch attempt).
My general opinion this year has been that Monty needs to be given time. I never thought he was a great coach, but I thought he at least deserved a chance to prove himself. I am no longer in that boat. Again, it feels unfair for someone like me to criticize someone who knows so much more about basketball than I do.. but I think the mistakes have been pretty evident. I think this game is on him.
- Al Jefferson got off to a hot start versus Ajinca last night, and Nene followed suit by torching Greg Stiemsma early tonight.
- Anthony Davis also started off hot, drilling 2 of his first 3 jumpers and scoring off a Roberts miss.
- Saw some of the ugliest passes I’ve seen in a while in this quarter. From both teams. The highlight was a Nene no look flip that was 4-5 feet from its target.
- Rivers injected some much needed energy near the end of the quarter and was very effective in that stint on both sides of the ball.
- The scoring slowed down to start the half, as both teams struggled to put the ball in the basket.
- Morrow hit a couple of tough jumpers to get things started
- Jeff Withey got some run with Davis, and the duo played some very good defense. He is so much more mobile than Ajinca and Stiemsma. Give the guy time, please.
- Stiemsma had a few early strips that led to easy Pelicans fast breaks. The Wizards weren’t exactly enthusiastic getting back and the Pelicans capitalized. After a decent start, Stiemsma reverted to early season form, allowing Nene to throw him around like a rag doll, getting a technical, and fouling. Was not pretty.
- Nene also got hot to start the 2nd half, throwing down a couple of monster dunks. This guy is really good.
- Anthony Davis had another solid quarter with 8 points.
- Kudos to Alexis Ajinca, who scored 9 points in the period. He hit a few mid range Js and had a huge And 1 off a dump off. He also had 4 big rebounds in the 4th.
- In a theme of the night, Morrow also hit some big shots.
- Rivers got yanked in the middle of the quarter for Roberts, probably because Roberts went off for 11 in the 4th quarter versus Charlotte last night. I get it, but I think it’s worth pointing out that Roberts continually gets the benefit of the doubt while Rivers doesn’t.
- Nene just killed us all night. Midrange jumpers, dunks, you name it. He obliterated us.
- Anthony Morrow is a very valuable sparkplug and someone I’d love to see return to the team. The energy, the shooting.. it’s just fun to watch him when he’s locked in. Not a big fan of when he gets in heat check mode and tries to create with the dribble (unless it’s versus a hard closeout), but I’m not going to criticize someone when he goes 7-8 from the field. Keep being you, Morrow.
- Anthony Davis was on fire from midrange tonight. He put up 26 points in 33 minutes, and I think tonight would’ve been a good night to throw him in for close to 40. I get that it’s the second night of a back to back, but he’s 20 years old and he had it going tonight.
- Eric Gordon was terrible offensively, but I actually thought he did a great job on defense tonight. He was fighting through screens and closing out hard. That said, the offense.. yikes.
- Jeff Withey had a strong performance. He’s so aggressive going after shots, and he’s much more mobile than Ajinca/Stiemsma. I like him and think this would be a good time to develop him.
- Austin Rivers also had a great performance, and his effort tonight was outstanding. So why isn’t he getting more time?
- Tyreke had his usual out of control plays, but wound up with 7 assists and 7 boards. I thought he did a good job forcing the issue and setting up others, particularly Anthony Morrow. Much better than Roberts/Gordon on offense tonight, yet got yanked with 4 to go. Curious.
- Al Farouq Aminu is Al Farouq Aminu is Al Farouq Aminu. He’s non-existent on offense. The corner 3 was nice and so was his transition dunk, but the guy is just lost in a halfcourt setting and kills our offensive flow. Where art thou, Darius Miller?