Prediction for this game: We lose because whenever we have a podcast the same day as a game, that's what tends to happen (at least lately).
« 2014 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference – Day 1
Game On: Pelicans @ Kings
I’ve got to say – the last two weeks of Pelicans basketball have been a bit of a lowpoint for me. A series of tough, close losses, Eric Gordon’s good stretches becoming fewer and farther between., Tyreke Evans play starting to look a little more apathetic, etc, etc. To top it off, there were some brutal blowouts and the news that Jrue Holiday isn’t coming back this season.
That’s killer for me. No Davis-Holiday development to watch. It means Davis and Holiday played just 752 minutes together this season – for a grand total of 19% of the team’s playable minutes. Sad face.
Despite the tough couple weeks, though, the team can turn it around and give us some fun games to watch. Monty is trying to shake things up – giving Rivers long minutes, starting Tyreke, going to Miller and Withey earlier in the game. We can watch those guys and see what they are going to do. Davis is going to be excellent and always worth the price of admission. The team has to simply get back to what it was doing earlier in the season, and they can at least play .500 ball from here on out. Their Defense has been terrible the last ten games – but it’s actually slightly better than it was the rest of the season. (Damning them with faint praise here.)
No, it’s the offense that has disintegrated. An offensive team that was a high-offense rebound, low turnover, solid shooting force that sat in the top ten, has fallen well out of that rarified air and, in particular, has forgotton how to hold on to the ball. Over their last ten, the Pelicans are the second most turnover-prone team in the league. That’s death when you don’t finish your shots at a high percentage.
Keys to the game:
- Hold on to the ball. That simple. Even with minutes moving from Roberts to Rivers, this team should not be throwing the ball away at this rate. It’s ridiculous, uncharacteristic, and smacks of laziness.
- Make turnovers count. The Kings are going to get a ton of free throws. They already draw the 3rd highest rate in the league – and the Pelicans give up the highest rate in the league. If the Pelicans want to counter that disadvantage, they are going to need to take advantage of the fact the Kings turn the ball over more than all but 5 clubs.
- Don’t let Ajinca guard DeMarcus Cousins for long. Ajinca couldn’t defend Al Jefferson worth a lick, and Cousins will pose even more problems. Bah – who am I kidding? This won’t be a problem. Over-Under of 2 minutes before Ajinca has 2 fouls. Anyone taking the over? Anyone?
Enjoy the Game!
I was just talking about how I should take bets in my section at the SKC on how many fouls Ajinca will have in his first 2 minutes. I'm hoping this revenge game of sorts will light a fire in Tyreke and, in turn, the rest of the team (sans Davis, of course) that will carry over a few games.
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