Pelicans role players down Clippers

Published: March 27, 2014

This is one of those games that just leaves you scratching your head.  No Holiday, Gordon, Anderson, Smith, Rivers, or Roberts.  Darius Miller played long stretches of the game as a point guard.  Anthony Davis couldn’t stroke any of his midrange shots, scoring just 16 points on 19 shots.  Tyreke scored 10 points on 16 shots.  So the two guys who had been carrying the team had terrible offensive games.  The Clippers went 13-30 from deep, delivering a percentage that normally dooms the Pelicans this season

And the Pelicans won.  Huh?

It was gutty play by the Pelicans reserves that took this one.  Anthony Morrow was excellent – driving and hitting floaters, posting up when small guards like Collison or Paul were on him – and sticking a pair of threes as usual.  The best part about Ammo’s game was the fact his post play actually worked.  Often, big guards try to take advantage of small guards in the post and end up looking stupid because they never practice scoring in the post.  Morrow looked like he knew what he was doing.

Darius Miller also played the best game I’ve seen him play.  It wasn’t just his shot – which was on – but his defense was pretty good on whichever guard he ended up chasing.   He had a couple moments in the third where I think he was playing anxious – but in general he did  a great job slipping pick and rolls and trying to make Paul and Collison into shooters.

In the end – it was enough – as the Pelicans led most of the fourth and held on to win by 2, 98-96.

  • Ajinca is still strictly situational.  Against mobile shooting centers, he’s a major liability.  Against behemoth centers whose games keep them near the rim, he can be extremely effective.  Tonight, he had a nice game against Jordan – just like he had ones against Howard, Hibbert, and Marc Gasol.  His 14 points and 11 boards were almost as impactful as Morrow’s 27.
  • Davis really couldn’t hit anything tonight from 15 feet out. It wasn’t anything Griffin was doing – he was just missing badly.  Unfortunately, Griffin was doing a solid job making AD contort himself to score on his drives as well, and in general Davis just couldn’t get his shot to drop.  I love that I consider a 16-14-4-2-6 statline as poor.  That’s essentially Joakim Noah’s average – minus the blocks – and people are trying to convince themselves he deserved a spot above Dwight Howard on the All NBA teams.
  • Evans couldn’t get that shot going tonight and had a couple bad airballs – but he also generated 9 assists.  By way of recent comparison, it was disappointing, but based on the sort of respect the Clippers defense was giving the players around him, it was an adequate showing.
  • Miller was an ice cold killer as he scored the last two baskets for the Pelicans.  His shot always looks flat, but tonight he could do no wrong.
  • The Pelicans ripped down 17 offensive rebounds tonight and committed one less foul than the Clippers.  They certainly accomplished those keys to the game.
  • The best thing Miller and Evans did all night was handle the ball pressure applied by the Clippers as they brought the ball up.  Only one turnover, despite some strong pressure by Paul and Collison – then Barnes – on the Pelican ball handlers.  Good job.
  • Chris Paul was 0-12.  I’m not going to say the Pelicans would have lost if he shot better.  In that hypothetical game, I have a feeling either Davis or Evans would have also recovered their shooting stroke.  Still, it’s not often you see a player of Paul’s caliber struggle to score that badly.  He really did have trouble handling all the height the Pelicans were putting out there.  For several long stretches, the Pelicans deployed a line-up of Ajinca, Davis, Aminu, Morrow and Evans.  No one under 6’6.  Who does Collison and Paul guard in that lineup?
  • Al Farouq’s touch shooting hooks around the basket continues to improve.  He really is a small-ball 4 in this league.  If you guys could keep only Jason Smith or Aminu next year – and I think that could be a serious decision point for the Front office – which one are you taking?

Was a fun game!


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