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!


  1. Steven J

    March 27, 2014 at 12:14 am

    Gotta give props to the Coach for this game. We played a great game and our players looked like they knew what they were doing! Only bad thing was the 3 point defense, which I think worked to our advantage in the end. This is one of the games where our reserves go out and prove why they are on the team. I think Darius Miller earned himself some quality minutes, and Ajinca proved that he is superior to Steimsma. Morrow is going to play a key role on the team, we just gotta sign him back next year. Liked pretty much everything I saw this game!

  2. loudlikepat

    March 27, 2014 at 12:24 am

    Man, that was AWESOME!!!!!!!

  3. HawnitsFanatic

    March 27, 2014 at 12:26 am

    Monty admitted post game that he did very little in this game to take credit for. Simply said he pulled the players aside, gave them a speech and told them to compete hard. Then credited the players for the win. I like it.
    Couple things I noticed:
    Greg Steimsma and Tyreke Evans do NOT work together. They respect Steimsma so little that every Tyreke drive ended with Jordan in his mug. Steimsma does not have the tools to make them pay. Steimsma could not even rebound when he had Jordan boxed out in perfect position.
    They gameplanned for Davis/Evans really well. Davis caught the ball so much further out than we’re used to seeing. They’d double him on PnRs and get back to their man, normally Tyreke, with the assumption that if he passed back to the guard Evans would see Jordan at the basket.
    We used our length incredibly well against Paul.
    I wanted this win more than any other this season and we closed one out. Darius, you the man of the night.

  4. wilthomas178

    March 27, 2014 at 12:59 am

    That was pretty much a throwback to the early 90’s style basketball.
    They looked like the old Knicks out there with the big guard lineup..
    Perhaps Miller’s true position in the NBA is a 2(shooting guard)
    But all this is irreverent because of the current log jam at the guard positions..
    Being “short handed” was  kinda overrated tonight..Although we only dressed 9 players, the Clippers only PLAYED 9 PLAYERS IN THEIR ROTATION. so it was a wash…
    Great Game..we should have no problems against Utah if we played like we played tonight..
    (Along with miller playing more at the 2)

  5. mojart

    March 27, 2014 at 1:28 am

    this is a very SPECIAL win….

  6. champsworld504

    March 27, 2014 at 3:01 am

    Damn that was a satisfying game! Everyone not named Steamin’ pile of Steisma played a part in getting this W. I already had my mind set on letting Miller and Aminu walk after this season (hopefully Roberts gets paid elsewhere), now I have my doubts. Morrow might (lol) want more money now that he’s our poor man’s Jamal Crawford. Anyway, this is AD’s house and diva cp3 left out a loser! #takeflight

  7. Jason Quigley

    March 27, 2014 at 3:43 am

    Yeah, honestly the best game I’ve watched all season. Maybe tied with Evans sinking Portland. Loved every minute of this. It’s a nice surprise when realistically no one is expecting a win with literally half the team out against a top-4 team in the league, and especially against Chris Paul.

  8. champsworld504

    March 27, 2014 at 3:49 am

    On Clipperblog, they were calling Miller “Darius Morris” and saying if JJ Reddick was healthy, his defense would’ve been the difference. Can’t stop laughing right now.

  9. NOEngineer

    March 27, 2014 at 5:49 am

    This is already one of my favorite CP3 memories….
    Jamaal Crawford played the role of Mr. T from Rocky 3.  He made so many 3s that his arms and legs and fists got tired by the 4th quarter.   He was amazing making 3s over AD.  Makes me really miss Ryno….
    Monty’s motivational chops can not be questioned.   One can question his starting lineups, but his in-game lineup adjustments are starting to be surprising and effective.   I hope that Demps, Loomis and Benson have a Stiemsma intervention with him in the offseason.
    Miller is starting to challenge Aminu for the “team tease” title.   This game and his 4-for-4 night earlier in the year are so far outside his average, it boggles the mind.   His ability to bring the ball up against pressure was surprising.   Maybe the lack of game film on his tendencies helped, but if that skill holds up I would much rather see him as backup point guard than Roberts.   CP3 looked like Squeaky standing next to him, and his length really bothered the Clippers guards.
    A special thank you to Matt Barnes.  Without his stupidity in the 4th quarter we might not have won that game.  I thought for sure when I heard the Austin had the “upper respiratory infection against a playoff contender” that has been going around that we were slotted to lose this bout.   It made the victory so much sweeter.   Games (and streaks) like this make the season tickets worthwhile!

  10. 504ever

    March 27, 2014 at 6:26 am

    To answer your question, Ryan: Aminu.  His versatility is much better than Jason’s and his one skill, rebounding, is both elite and more important than Jason’s best skill, nice scoring from the inefficient zone.  Finally, with Davis, Ajinca, Anderson, and the pick up this summer, it will likely be hard for Smith to get minutes.  Aminu’s ability to play SF and PF (especially small ball, push tempo, PF) will likely give him many more minutes.
    I like Jason, and wish we could resign him, too.  But if you ask me who is gone, I say in this order: Stiemsma, Miller, possibly (Roberts) Rivers or Jackson in a trade, and possibly Smith. Aminu doesn’t make the list.

  11. PelicanSaints

    March 27, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Wow…..what a game. ..It was so amazing to see how the Pelicans players rallied together and got it done. ..Monty calling plays to exploit CP3 was priceless, along with the look on CP3’s face as he exited the court chewing on his mouthpiece….Dell has some hard decision this summer outside of moving Gordon and letting Stemsma walk, after that it’s hard to say who’ll return next season. …

  12. Lebron2Pels2014

    March 27, 2014 at 8:38 am

    This team is going to make noise next season.Monty had some games that really saved his job at the same time that mardi gras road trip still haunt this team because this team would be in the race for the 8th seed.If they finished 9th or 10t in the west and make some moves including trading Gordon.The Pels will be fighting for the 5th-8th seed in 2015.

  13. Jason Quigley

    March 27, 2014 at 9:05 am

    He’s so inconsistent though… 🙁 he pretty much only plays well when he has to to keep his job. But when he’s good, he is damn good. I just don’t think sticking him in any starting lineup as a SF is a good idea.

  14. bradlaborde

    March 27, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Loved every minute of that game. 
    I have a raspy voice this morning.  Couldn’t believe they gave Griffin a continuation at the end…
    The Pels have a tough schedule in April, but a few more wins like this will be enough for local buzz this offseason and more butts in seats for ’14-’15.  Can’t wait for next year!!
    P.S.  The Clippers problems with a slow paced half court game is a glimpse on how they will do this post season.

  15. Caffeinedisaster

    March 27, 2014 at 9:19 am

    wilthomas178  I don’t think it was a wash.  Clippers got to CHOOSE which of their 9 played.

  16. Caffeinedisaster

    March 27, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Darius playing PG?
    And we already have a guard heavy team. LOL smh.
    Jason over Chief.  No more teasing/throwing money away.  Withey will be 5th big behind Davis, Rhyno, Ajinca & Smith.

  17. Michael McNamara

    March 27, 2014 at 9:56 am

    champsworld504  Aww, porr Clippers – they were missing Reddick. Let’s see, we were missing:
    But again, poor Clippers 🙁

  18. shantadiva

    March 27, 2014 at 9:58 am

    I think Evans struggled because they pressured the ball full court forcing him to play a plodding half court offense (where’s B-Rob when you need him).  Evans is much better getting the ball up while the defense is still trying to set up and he can find a hole to exploit.  That was a good strategy for the Clippers whose object wasa clearly to stop Evans and Davis.  Thankfully other players stepped up.  Loved Miller.  Monty clearly doesn’t know how to use some of his players.  Injuries have shown him Evans must start.  Hopefully it will show him that Miller can be play making SF in a reserve role.

  19. shantadiva

    March 27, 2014 at 10:01 am

    As far as Miller, Smith and Aminu, I think you have to look at the money.  These are (or should be) reserves, where you have to balance talent, need and money.

  20. SamuelWhoDatWilcher

    March 27, 2014 at 10:40 am

    bradlaborde  That is a great perspective.  I didn’t think about our slow play helping us but I do believe that is true.

  21. LaNative

    March 27, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Aminu is freakishly athletic but he lacks motivation/energy some games and that is troubling.  Miller is a shooter whom I think will only get better plus he doesn’t shy away from the big moments.  Jason has a high motor and gives 100% all the time which is hard to replace also.  However, I think Aminu and Roberts are gone because Rivers is a project and honestly I think his ceiling is higher that Roberts.

  22. 504ever

    March 27, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Oh and Aminu is 5 years younger and more durable than Smith.

  23. PelicanSaints

    March 27, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    xman20002000 I can see bringing Aminu back,but at a lower number. Babbit may stick strictly because of the uncertainty of Anderson….Stiemsma is out for sure….Smith could also return at a lower number as well……I agree totally, it’ll definitely be a interesting off season

  24. Caffeinedisaster

    March 28, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Looking at it for a bit longer, it’s hard to see either guy returning.  Aminu lacks consistency and Jason is frequently hurt.

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