Pelicans Drop Jazz, AD Leaves with Injury

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Published: March 29, 2014
Game Recap Win 4

The good news is that the Pelicans managed to hold off the struggling Jazz. The bad news is that Anthony Davis went down with an ankle injury. Luckily, it didn’t appear to be anything major. Jen Hale reported that it is thought to be wear and tear.

This is just another piece of bad news for a team that can’t catch a break this season. Whenever the Pelicans get something going, a player gets hurt. It’s a reality that I’ve accepted for this season and honestly one that I’ve come to expect as well: if things are going right, something bad will happen.

Pessimistic, right? Well, maybe the Pelicans are just getting all of the bad luck out of the way before they reach relevance in the NBA hierarchy. The good news is that they’re playing their best stretch of basketball in recent memory and tonight’s win furthered their longest winning streak of the season. Tyreke Evans is looking to be worth every penny of what many labelled an egregious contract and Anthony Davis, though he went out, has been a bonafide superstar.

The Jazz threw a steady diet of post-ups at the Pelicans tonight, working heavily on the block to take advantage of mismatches versus the Pelicans bigs who have been thrust into heavier minutes than they are prepared for.

Tyreke Evans continued to get where he wanted to go despite the Jazz sagging off of him and trying to crowd the paint. To start the game, he was just throwing Trey Burke under the basket. Eventually the Jazz switched Burke off of him and gave other players chances to stop him. Yet none were a real answer for him, and he wound up scoring 22 points and handing out 15 assists on the night. I can’t wait to see him surrounded by better offensive options.

The Pelicans pulled away late in the 4th after a Jazz run and secured their 5th straight victory without Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson, Jrue Holiday, Jason Smith, Eric Gordon, and Brian Roberts. Not exactly the stiffest competition, but a win and another reason to smile going forward.

BOX SCORE

Some Notes

  • Joel Meyers and David Wesley were discussing how the Pelicans offense would run next year when Jrue Holiday returns and mentioned that he and Tyreke Evans could take turns running point. This is a fun thought.
  • One of the biggest things I’ve been impressed with in the last few games is Tyreke’s patience running the point. Tyreke’s game is predicated upon faith: a gap might not be there, but he attacks and trusts that he will be able to adjust and make the right decision. This can be as ugly as it can be beautiful, but Tyreke is starting to be more patient with the ball and is incorporating his teammates into the offense, even if they probably shouldn’t be.
  • Alexis Ajinca fouled out, but I think he’s been playing better recently and had a few nice blocks tonight.
  • Austin Rivers continues to show that he is a capable NBA player and made some tough looks tonight.
  • Al-Farouq Aminu continues to flabbergast me. His midrange shot has undoubtedly improved, even if it’s not great, and his ball-handling in recent games has seemed not quite as.. scary, even though he had a couple of stray passes tonight. Aminu isn’t Aminu if he isn’t puzzling you.
  • Anthony Morrow is a must re-sign for this team. The energy, the shooting, and the scoring have all been welcome injections into the starting lineup. And he’s not just scoring from 3.
  • Darius Miller got more minutes tonight and scored 12 points on 7 shots.. but I still don’t realize how he can get so few rebounds. I like him and I hope he continues to get minutes, but he’s going to need to help on the boards more.
9 comments
otherMark
otherMark

"...victory without Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson, Jrue Holiday, Jason Smith, Eric Gordon, and Brian Roberts."


I know that all teams have injuries, but that's a crazy street-clothes lineup!  That has to be one of the best all-injured rosters from a single team, all time.

mateor
mateor

Watching Tyreke blossom has been great, he requires faith from his coach and front office, and then succeeds. Keep it up guys.

Steven J
Steven J

I actually liked some of the things the Pelicans did on defense last night. I was at the game, and every time Kanter put Steimsma in the post I would holler help him!!! And what do ya know, somebody would come and help out and we made a few blocks and steals that way. But that's also a way to give up some wide open 3's had it been a better team. Once we clear that up under the goal, "I like Ajinca more and more" we will be on our way to being a way better team. Another thing, I know we all hate Steimsma starting. But I think Monty keeps starting Steimsma since we have been winning since he put him in the position. Then he takes him out and we play well. It's superstition, you can't mess with it right now!

504ever
504ever

At some point, we all will need to evaluate the current talent on this team to look at its future going forward.  I don't think there is much disagreement about the guys who are starters for a (vast) majority of teams in the league: Davis, Evans, Holiday, and Anderson.  I think the ability to trade Gordon for anything better, including cap space, is unclear and difficult for fans to speculate about.  There are too many factors besides the things we understand: his play, his contract, and his injuries.

The real questions are about our 2nd team players, and I only want to talk about one now: Ajinca.  After joining the Pelicans around Christmas time, Ajinca has played in 47 game and will end up playing in about 70% of all Pelican games.  Obviously there is a huge discount to his early games, since he joined in mid-season, and an appropriate increased weighting on his later games.

In the past 6 games (where the Pelicans went 5-1 and barely lost to Toronto without AD), Ajinca has averaged 9 points, 8 rebounds, and about 1 block and 1 steal in 21minutes.  That's pretty good.  Further, if you look at all OTHER games, starting January 1st, in which Ajinca played 20 minutes or more, Ajinca is averaging more points (around 10) and similar rebounds and blocks.  So Ajinca's play has been pretty consistent in recent games and in all 2014 games in which he played 20+ minutes.

To me Ajinca is a true C, who plays well, and 'stuffs the stat sheet' well, for a 2nd team player.  I am very pleased with that pick up and that he is signed for next year.  I'd like to see him get more love here.

PelicanSaints
PelicanSaints

Another good win for the Pelicans, hopefully AD's ankle isn't to serious. ...

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

Another tough win, despite the opponent's record.  This team can be another source of great pride for this city if more people embrace it.   We are known for our ability to persevere through hard times, and Monty's teams do that as well as any.   The recent Saints broke through a lot longer run of misfortune to win it all and remain elite.  I'm thinking the Pelicans can do the same, with hopefully a shorter preparation period than 43 years.....

Contrast the value we have received from Tyreke with that of Gordon.   I already feel like Tyreke has won more games for us in less than a year than Gordon has in almost 3 years.   He is willing to do whatever it takes to make the team successful.  That's the kind of people I want to hire in my business.   I can't afford $11,000,000 per year, but you get the picture....

Withey did not look bad enough to justify the short leash again tonight.  He was doing his usual thing:  boxing out, altering shots, not fouling frequently, and getting outmuscled on occasion.   The Stiemsma thing is the only major aggravation I have left with this team, and Monty in particular.    

I really wish we could get back to being an elite free-throw percentage team.   We split way too many trips last night, which kept them in the game.   Practice, boys.  

How 'bout them Spartans!

Blackajack22
Blackajack22

I think Tyreke and Jrue can take turns running the offense next season. A perfect example was shown tonight. Some time Tyreke ran the offense and some time Rivers ran the offense. And I think Tyreke should run it more than Jrue because Jrue is a real good spot up shooter. And so is Gordon, if he is back next season. This team is gonna be deadly next season when everyone comes back. One because of the talent that we have that's missing and two, the people who will be coming off the bench is getting valuable playing time now. And three, Monty is getting a good look at what he have in backups and role players. I'm glad I renewed my season tickets.

Go Pels!!!!!

mateor
mateor

@otherMark  I wonder. Nothing that talented comes to mind, to be honest. Question for Stat Boy.

PelicanSaints
PelicanSaints

As long as Steimsma doesn't play in fourth quarter .....

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