Monty Switches Some Things Up and the Pelicans Win an Overtime Thriller

Published: March 9, 2014

When a player is young and makes mistakes in the NBA, he regularly gets a pass as people assume that he will eventually grow out of those mistakes. Coaches, however, don’t seem to get the same pass for a variety of reasons. Whether you think Monty is a good coach or not, I think that we can all agree that he is an inexperienced coach. Yes, this is his fourth year at the helm for the New Orleans franchise, but before this, he never had the lead position at any level. It is safe to say that many of Monty’s philosophies will evolve with time served on the bench, if he gets that opportunity here or perhaps somewhere else.

Fans (and some of our writers) have been frustrated by Monty’s lack of creativity with lineups, and his inability to see the ones that clearly don’t work. We have also been frustrated by his end of game management, most recently his decision to leave Brian Roberts on John Wall at the end of the Wizards game when Austin Rivers is clearly the better defender. Say what you will about Monty, but tonight, he gave us what we have been asking for down the stretch, and the result was a 111-107 overtime win against the Nuggets.

Anthony Morrow hit a clutch basket with 0.9 seconds left to send the game into the extra period, and then Monty played Anthony Davis with four guards for most of the overtime session to help New Orleans outscore the Nuggets 17-13 to get the victory. Anthony Davis was spectacular, scoring 32 points while grabbing 17 rebounds, and swatting 6 shots. And it was the final block that was the key play of overtime, and helped secure the Pelicans third straight victory.

After breaking the tie and putting the Pelicans up 106-104 with 1:22 remaining, Ty Lawson raced down the floor and past his defender, making his way to what seemed like an unprotected rim. Out of nowhere, Anthony Davis’s long arms appeared and stuffed the ball on the backboard. Tyreke Evans got the ball and raced the other way, finally getting to the rim and making a tough layup that pushed the lead to four. And that, for all intents and purposes, was the game.

Anthony Davis took his game to yet another level tonight, and Monty Williams stepped outside of himself a bit to help him get a victory just two days before his 21st birthday. Maybe, just maybe, they are both growing before our very eyes.

Other Notes and Observations

– Anthony Morrow has made me a huge fan of his game. And this was before that clutch shot, heck it was before this game. He has been the exact type of solid role player that good teams need and I really hope Dell Demps can bring him back on a reasonable contract this summer. The guy always plays with passion and has an elite skill that you can depend on night after night. The team must re-sign him this summer.

– In addition to switching it up in overtime, Monty made a move late in the 4th that I want to see more often. With 40 seconds left, the Nuggets had the ball up two. Ty Lawson had been getting by Roberts with ease, so Monty substituted Rivers in for that final defensive stop. The Nuggets actually forced a switch and Rivers was on Aaron Brooks, who took it strong to the hole, but Rivers was with him every step of the way and forced the miss.

– I thought there were some terrible calls in the 4th quarter. A semi phantom call against Rivers that gave Brooks three FT’s (remember Austin getting nearly amputated by Monta Ellis and not getting a call?). There were some hard drives by Tyreke that went unrewarded, and the worst one was a Kenneth Faried travel with less than two minutes ot go that allowed the Nuggets to increase the lead from 2 to 4. I hate complaining about refs, but that sequence of clearly terrible calls nearly cost the Pelicans the game.

– Eric Gordon was invisible in the first half, scored 7 quick points in the third, and then was pretty much invisible again throughout. He gets a slight nod because he is a much better on ball defender than Morrow, but when debating which player I would rather have regardless of money – Gordon or Morrow – I at least have to think about it. And when money gets added into the equation, it is a no brainer.

– Brian Roberts hit a big shot in overtime. Of course, it came right after he let Lawson blow by him for a three-point play to give the Nuggets the lead. But still, he hit a big shot. There, I said something nice.

– Austin Rivers’ box score was nice tonight (13 pts on 11 shots, 5 to 2 assist to turnover ratio), but I thought he played even better than that. Great defense (or maybe it was just good and it seemed great after watching Roberts) and he always had his head up looking for teammates. A pass on a back door cut to Tyreke was one of the prettiest assists of the season. And when he gets a spot up jumper opportunity, I always think they are going in. Off the dribble, though? Totally different story. Work for this summer.

– Tyreke was out of control at times during this game, but the Nuggets had no answer for him in transition. Just a wrecking ball.

– Only 5 points in 53 minutes for our three-headed center combination, but they did pull down 12 rebounds and most importantly, only had 7 fouls. The Denver front line actually draws fouls at a very high rate, and I thought this would be a big issue, but more often than not the Pelicans were in the bonus before the Nuggets.

– With a three game win streak, the tank is officially dead. Can we never talk about it again? Can we root for wins and more nights like tonight where Monty experiments? Can we get some butts in the seats to fill the arena? Can we?


  1. JannyMeza

    March 9, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    I was on the edge of my seat once we regained the lead in the 2nd half. Morrow = clutch. He’s been stepping up lately. Monty just may make it to next season. Let’s beat the Grizzlies on Wednesday!

  2. mojart

    March 9, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    now lets sweep the season series against the grizz next…..momentum is sky high for the pels

  3. BumblebeePelican

    March 9, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Awesome game

  4. LaNative

    March 9, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Monty experimented today and it proved successful. Although old habits are hard to break,  the question is will Monty continue on this path?  Hopefully this is a “light bulb” moment for him and just maybe he will revamp his thinking for the upcoming season.  Yes, I doubt that Monty won’t be the coach next year but I do think it will be his last if we can get healthy and our win record doesn’t greatly improve. However, I think this win streak comes at a good time for Monty and will encourage the powers to be and the fan base that maybe he’s turning the coaching corner.
    Anthony Davis is something special and hopefully Pelican fans will realize it sooner than later and start to pack out the arena.  All-in-all good game and let’s geaux Pelcians.

  5. 504ever

    March 9, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    On behalf of Brian Roberts, I thank you.  Good write-up.  My only points to add are below.

    To me the most telling stat is player offensive efficiency.  When all of your players are efficient, it is harder to key on a smaller group of players.  Tonight, every player had an offensive efficiency at or above 1.0, but one.  The team was lead by Davis’s and Evans’s 1.5 offensive efficiency.  (Gordon had the only offensive efficiency score below 1.0.  He played some nice on ball defense, but had 4 turnovers.)
    Morrow was a stat stuffer tonight, too, although it wasn’t assists tonight.  It was rebounds and steals, in addition to his constant: points.  Morrow also had three turnovers.  (Evans had five!)  Man I like Morrow and hope he likes playing here with Davis.

    Michael, you’ll like this.  How did Roberts score his last, and crucial for the win, basket?  As a SG on the wing with Evans at Point Forward.

    Finally a thought: who did Rivers tie tonight for best assist to turnover ratio with the exact same stats? Go up four paragraphs.

    Three in a row, baby! Three in a row!  If the tank isn’t dead for you now, it will be at the end of this home  stand.

  6. mrcatz22

    March 9, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Completely agree with what was said about Morrow, I was actually really excited when we picked him up in free agency. Hopefully we impress him enough for the rest of the season to want to come back, he’d be an excellent piece for our bench when we get to a playoff-run caliber roster.

  7. nolahog

    March 9, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    So wow.  Much blocks.  Very winning streak.

  8. PelicanSaints

    March 9, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    Great win for the Pels tonight…..The second unit brought great energy tonight, Rivers and Morrow where definitely unsung hero’s tonight. The hell with that tank talk….lets kick some ass the rest the way….

  9. champsworld504

    March 9, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    Like I said before, a good goal for this team is not to lose 50 games. It’s not that hard not to do.

  10. NOEngineer

    March 10, 2014 at 5:25 am

    As much as I hate to, I have to recognize solid rebounding by Stiemsma and Aminu.   As usual with this team, Withey disappeared after a good game and other guys who were previously ineffective stepped up.   I still think this is the hardest part of Monty’s job:  figuring out who will play well any given day.  He does seem to be getting better at it….
    Now let’s go for the gusto, and make our starting lineup better.   Rivers for Roberts, Morrow for Gordon, Withey for Ajinca.   On balance, the defense shouldl improve (with less fouls) while the offense will be very different.   Give that group a 3 to 5 game run at minimum as our starters and see if we can’t play from ahead.   Give Withey the same 2-foul starting run that Ajinca has been getting.  If Gordon can’t figure out how to stay warm and efficient coming off the bench, glue him to it for the rest of the season.
    I wish we could fix our free throw funk.   We almost lost the game due to the low percentage at the line.   I especially get mad when Gordon, Morrow, and Evans are missing any, but Davis is missing a lot too.  Otherwise not a bad game from AD…..
    I appreciate the fact that Stiemsma and Ajinca did not attempt a shot last night.  Withey was 1 for 4 with another flat-footed dunk attempt gone wrong.   These guys for the most part are letting the shooters do their thing on that end.   As long as the lineup includes some shooters, that is a good thing.   Listen up, Jason Smith!
    I hope the absence of Babbitt is just a recognition that he will be back next year so further evaluation is wasteful.   While I appreciated Aminu’s performance last night and his is still our second-most-efficient player, some of his minutes could have gone to Babbitt when we were struggling offensively in the first half.   We don’t shoot enough 3s, and I’d rather have Babbitt shooting some than Evans or Aminu.   
    Davis is 5 blocks shy of the 165 he would need to average 3 per game.   Still leading the league, but I want to see him achieve that 20/10/3 line at season’s end.   Something to strive for since playoffs (playoffs!!) are not in reach.   I also want to see Withey’s minutes top the minimum for his season to count statistically.

  11. bradlaborde

    March 10, 2014 at 8:54 am

    Another sluggish 1st quarter by the starting unit, but was glad with the effort/lineups down the stretch and in OT.  The defense was better in the 2nd half.  The Pels were able to hold off a 27-35 team that committed 27 turnovers.  I hope they can build confidence from this and beat Memphis, then Portland later in the week.  Wins vs bad teams are fine, but I’d like to see a few against some real competition.
    Lastly, I’ve cashed out on Ajinca.  Don’t need to see him play another minute as a Pel.  The problem is that increases minutes for Steamer.  Maybe Withey too, but lately Monty has been using him as AD’s backup.

  12. PelicanSaints

    March 10, 2014 at 9:27 am

    NOEngineer I don’t think they will replace Morrow for Gordon as a starter for a variety of reasons…..I don’t know why Babbit has fallen so far outof the rotation, but last night the Nuggets may have proven to be a bit too athletic for Babbit…..

  13. Caffeinedisaster

    March 10, 2014 at 11:06 am

    I want to see a youtube video of Tyreke highlights set to Five Finger Death Punch’s “Wrecking Ball.

    That is his nickname now.

  14. Steven J

    March 10, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Everyone still hate Dealer Dell for his moves? Tyreke looks like he is getting more comfortable each game. I’m excited to see Jrue and Tyreke in the backcourt together with AD and Ryno on the floor. Let’s hope for some exciting (and healthy) Pelicans ball in the near future! Once we get us a serviceable center, I’ll love the move to get Tyreke even more.

  15. Jason Quigley

    March 11, 2014 at 2:14 am

    You mean Miley’s song wouldn’t be more fitting? Aww…
    Reke’s putting up some really good games lately, not to mention stats, and it’s again making me giddy to imagine what he’d do with more spacing. HOWEVER, the whole “wrecking ball” playstyle has me a bit nervous. It works. Sometimes. What about when he has nights where nothing’s going in? Luckily that hasn’t happened lately, but earlier in the season I remember so much criticism going his direction because he couldn’t get a layup to fall, and in turn couldn’t get his teammates involved because his inability to score inside was causing his teammates to get more focus from the defense. It’s because of all this that I think he needs to focus on some other part of his game over the summer, and hopefully outside or even mid-range shooting; because his driving game is about as good as it’s going to get, and other than that he’s fairly limited on offense.

  16. NOEngineer

    March 11, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    As long as he has Davis and Ryno to ORB it doesn’t matter if they all go in. Our other bigs don’t rebound well on that end, so we suffer more if Tywreak misses then.

  17. Jason Quigley

    March 11, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Our other bigs don’t really rebound well in general…

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