Pelicans Come Up Short In Utah, Lose Fourth Straight

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Published: April 4, 2014
Game Recap Lose 2

Huge mental lapses, sloppy ball handling, nonexistent defense, and ugly shooting once again plagued the Pelicans tonight, but in spite of that, Darius Miller still had a chance to tie the game as he rose up for a three-pointer with nine seconds left. The ball rolled out, and Utah secured the rebound (and eventually a 100-96 victory), but it still must be noted that the Pelicans gave themselves a chance to win this game late.

For the third time in the last five games we saw Anthony Davis leave the game early with an injury, and though he returned for about 8 minutes in the fourth quarter, he clearly wasn’t the same. In fact, he just hasn’t been the same since suffering an ankle injury the last time these two faced in New Orleans. In the last five Pelicans’ games, we have only seen Davis play 76 minutes, scoring 36 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. At his peak in March, he was doing that in one game.

And as Davis has faltered, so has Tyreke Evans. Without Davis in the lineup, we have seen more Stiemsma and almost every lineup Monty puts out there has at least two guys the opposition doesn’t even have to defend. The result is that Evans has struggled as well, and that was no different tonight, as he went 3-11 from the field (including three air balls) and had 7 turnovers as well.

It has been ugly, with the only bright spot being Anthony Morrow, and perhaps Jeff Withey. Morrow was fantastic again tonight, almost single-handedly keeping the Pelicans in this game with 26 points on 9-11 shooting. Withey, meanwhile, had a third straight solid performance as he scored 7 points on 3 attempts and also blocked three shots. In his last three games, Withey is 11-12 from the field and is averaging 4 blocks in just over 25 minutes per game.

Small silver linings like the improvement of Withey and the emergence of Morrow will have to make fans happy over this final stretch because we are likely to soon get news that Eric Gordon will be shut down for the season, and Anthony Davis might be next. When you look at the schedule ahead, this team could very well end the season on a ten game losing streak – something that would have seemed unimaginable just a week ago after wins against the Heat, Clippers, and Nets.

But that is where this team is at right now; On a four game losing streak, playing terrible defense with nowhere to go to outside of Morrow to get consistent offense. This was a team built around five fantastic players and a questionable supporting cast. As we head down the stretch, all we have to look forward to is the development of that supporting cast, because the core of this team is in Los Angeles getting a second opinion, or on an operating table, in a fancy suit on the sideline, or in the locker room getting stretched. They aren’t playing. And that is, unfortunately, how we will always remember the 2013-14 season. Here’s hoping that we get one or two more bright moments before it all mercifully comes to an end.

5 comments
xman20002000
xman20002000

This season wasn't bad considering what we went through with injuries and secondarily just getting playing time for all of the above on the team...  Frankly Gordon would have taken that last shot were he with the team... 

PelicanSaints
PelicanSaints

It's was good to see Withey get some go run, as to why Monty hasn't given him more minutes. I think he's using the same philosophy from last year with AD....to Monty's credit,perhaps he's on to something. ...Morrow was outstanding. ....I really like what he brings to this team. .....I have to give it to Monty,for the play he called to get Miller the shot to tie the game. ..that was nice

504ever
504ever

I think Stiemsma played well for Stiemsma, should be given props for that.  I am not saying I want to resign him, just that his play wasn't a problem.  I know he can't defend Favors but who can?  AD?  Well it was Favors who "cheap shotted" AD (legally) by pushing Davis so hard when he was going into the stands when Favors had no play on the ball.  I think Favors knew exactly what he was doing.  Taking AD out of the game meant Favors could score almost at will.

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

We were in this game until Utah realized that Greg Stiemsma was defending Favors, and we didn't.   Greg did have some nice steals and even a block later, but his defense in the 3rd quarter made me burst a blood vessel.  Ajinca's defense was just about as bad.

I'm glad to see that a perfect night from the field and 3 blocks is enough to get Withey a "perhaps".  He is moving up!   He did miss a few free throws, which is probably due to lack of strength and conditioning.

Evans has been tentative for a number of games now.  I think he is slowed by renewed ankle trouble, and it is killing his productivity on both ends.   He can't switch directions it seems.   I hope he can fix the ankles this summer.   Meanwhile we should rest him and AD, along with the rest of our top 80%.     Bring on the following starting lineup, and let them play until they faint or foul out:  Rivers, Roberts, Morrow, Babbit, and Withey.   Let's shoot us some threes!   Use Miller as our backup guard, Aminu as backup forward, and Ajinca as backup center.   I think Stiemsma is due for a stubborn upper respiratory infection or toe spasms anyway.....  Think of this as our shortened playoff rotation, and see how many games we can win in this 7-game series coming up against playoff contenders.    Probably none, but let's have fun with it!

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

@504ever  I don't think Favors was much of a factor against Withey, although Burks got hot from outside and they did not go to Favors much.    Again, we won't know if Withey can compete against starters unless we let him try....