If I remember this game correctly, we played like a veteran team who knew they could turn it on in the end and win. And we had a number of lackadaisical moments on offense and defense.
Glory Days: Pelicans Pull Away From the Jazz Late, Win 105-98
Glory Days is a running series that will recap the handful of magical games that the Pelicans core was healthy during the 2013-14 season. This is Game #2. For previous games in the series, click here.
The Pelicans came out a little flat after having 3 days off, but eventually pulled away from the Jazz in the second half thanks to the performances of Ryan Anderson (19 points on 9 FGA) and Anthony Davis (22 pts, 9 rebs, 8 blks, 4 assists). [Full Box Score]
The offense got plenty of good shots, but just couldn’t knock some wide open looks down, while the defense had several terrible sequences, due in large part to a lack of communication. Still, in stretches, you can see the makings of a dominant team, though Monty’s rotations were quite odd in this game and probably had as much to do with the narrow victory as anything else.
This is what happens when hard hedging goes wrong – As The Bird Writes wrote earlier this week, the big issue with the Pelicans defense was the wide open corner threes they gave up. Check out this one.
But on the very next play, we see what happens when the hard hedge works.
Richard Jefferson misses the shot, but on this play, you can see Tyreke’s general lack of awareness when he is playing off the ball on defense. Something Monty continues to pound into his head and you can see why. Here is another example.
This is why Austin Rivers played in the second half over Brian Roberts.
Simple failure to communicate here by Tyreke and Anderson. When looking back, you see that it really isn’t that this team lacks the physical capability to play defense, they just make mental errors or don’t communicate.
I will say, however, that Eric Gordon does have some physical limitations in Monty’s defense. This defense requires everyone to help, and this is what Gordon’s version of helping looks like.
John Lucas III just got stupid hot in the 3rd quarter, but there were no mistakes. All of his shots were well contested, he just hit them. If he doesn’t make those shots, this is probably a blow out.
There was no real offensive identity when the starters were on the floor, but adding Ryno to the unit opened up the floor immensely. Let me show you two consecutive plays from the 1st quarter – the first one is with the starters, then Ryno subs in and the second is with the same unit but with Ryno instead of Smith. W/O Ryno – Bad shot W/ Ryno – Good shot
They did play with more energy in the second half and got looks (note Smith making the extra pass, something he was criticized for not doing often), but they just weren’t knocking them down on this night.
The Jazz put a hybrid player (Jeremy Evans) on Ryan Anderson most of the game, but the Pelicans ran simple sets that were able to free him because of how afraid they were of Anthony Davis. And here is another example of Utah’s respect for Davis getting his teammates easy looks.
The first quarter saw the Pelicans score just 20 points, due in large part to them being sloppy (specifically Tyreke) and misses wide open looks. Three 3-pointers rattled in and out.
Brian Roberts Second-Unit offense ladies and gentlemen! Thankfully, we got the offensive rebound and got it to Tyreke the second time around. But why didn’t we do that the first time? And if that is not enough, look at what happens on the very next possession! Then again, maybe it is just the lesser of two evils, because his passing didn’t yield good results either.
Meanwhile, when Austin was on instead of Roberts, Tyreke was the primary creator and the results were much better.
Jrue Holiday attacked the rim more than usual in this game. Would like to see plays like this from him more often.
Tyreke and Jrue barely played together at all in this game, but look at how beautiful they worked together when they were both on the court.
I have already said that Tyreke’s jumper (particularly his mid-range) would not be my #1 priority this summer, but he has to work on his spot-up three. Here, his man leaves him to defend an Anthony Davis rim run, and Tyreke has to make him pay but he can’t.
Starting Lineup – Holiday-Gordon-Aminu-Davis-Smith
5:13 remaining in the 1st – Anderson comes in for Smith. Two possessions later, Evans checks in for Aminu and Roberts subs in for Holiday (Roberts-Gordon-Evans-Ryno-AD)
1:54 left in the 1st – Morrow in for Gordon, next possession Amundson comes in for AD (Roberts-Morrow-Evans-Ryno-Amundson) to finish the quarter
Same lineup to start the second quarter, then at the officials timeout at 8:54, AD comes in for Amundson
At 7:48, Holiday comes in for Roberts and we get 1:46 of Holiday and Evans together before Aminu comes in for Tyreke and Gordon comes in for Morrow. (Jrue0Gordon-Aminu-Ryno-AD)
At 4:06, Smith comes back in for Anderson and the starting 5 is back on the court.
For seemingly no reason whatsoever, Roberts comes in for Holiday at the 1:46 mark and those guys finish out the quarter
Second half, the starting five is back out there, but Anderson comes in earlier this half (7:56 left in 3rd)
Evans comes in for Gordon at 6:32 and we get our first glimpse of the Core Four, though still no Finishing Five
Holiday comes out with 5:31 remaining, but surprisingly, it is Rivers subbing in for him not Roberts, due in large part to the trouble Roberts had on the defensive end in the first half
With 1:49 remaining, Smith comes in for AD and Morrow comes in for Aminu (Rivers-Morrow-Evans-Anderson-Smith)
Monty sticks with that bench unit for a while, as they play beautifully, going on a 19-10 run. Then, with 7:35 left, he subs in AD for Smith. Two possessions later, Holiday and Gordon come in for Rivers and Morrow and we see our first glimpse of the Finishing Five
That only lasts two possessions before Aminu is back in for Evans
At 1:53, Evans comes back in and the Finishing Five finish off the game. First possession back on the court results in this AD dunk.
This is definitely a game you can point to and criticize Monty’s rotations a bit. After seeing the Finishing Five dominate the game before, he barely plays them, and doesn’t even give the Core Four much time together. One thing going for Monty, however, is that he noticed the problems that Roberts was having with Trey Burke in the first half, so he went to Austin Rivers in the second half, and that move worked brilliantly. Rivers was much more aggressively defensively, and he led a unit that sparked a run that put the Pelicans ahead to stay.
Jazz went on an 8-0 run in the 3rd quarter, led by John Lucas, to take their first lead and Monty quickly responded with a timeout and this was the look they got coming out of the break
Odds and Ends
The Pelicans didn’t run nearly as much in this game, but that was due in large part to how little Holiday (26 minutes) and Evans (25 minutes) played. Only 18 transition opportunities, and surprisingly, only 1 three-point attempt in transition. Good news, though, is that the Jazz didn’t get many opportunities, either. Only 11 for the entire game.
The first couple of possessions saw Aminu get the ball in transition, and these were the types of results we got.
Pelicans killed the Jazz in the pick and roll. 8 possessions where they hit the roll man resulting in 15 points. And on the other end, the Pels hard hedging style gave Utah problems at times, as they forced 7 turnovers on P&R possessions.
I have only watched two games, but Tyreke Evans has taken two half court heaves already. Basketball reference says he only took 6 all season, but I find that hard to believe. But if true, he is a 25% three-point shooter, as opposed to 22%!!
Kanter went 5-6 on post ups against the Pelicans (3 against Smith, 2 against Ryno) but they were all fairly tough shots that I wouldn’t have expected him to make too often. Like this one here. Or this one.
Overall, this was an odd game that saw the Pelicans kind of come out in the first half without a clear plan of attack and that allowed the Jazz to stick around. Then, for a short stretch, the Jazz got crazy hot and all of a sudden it was a ball game. The energy from the guards picked up, however, and Ryno’s shooting helped the Pelicans pull away. The biggest concern coming away from this game was just the mental lapses and lack of communication on defense, though both of those things can be fixed. Oh, and Brian Roberts too, but he likely won’t be our problem next season.
The Pelicans win their third straight as the Finishing Five dominates the closing stretch to complete a fantastic comeback against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Next is the game I was AT!
This is how the post game recaps should look.
Next season guys. (May need more manpower to do them after every game though)
@504ever Yeah, and Monty's rotations were like that too. Didnt really give heavy minutes to a lot of guys. Just coasted through, went on a big run and it was game over b/c Utah lacked the firepower
@Caffeinedisaster These take me about 4-6 hours each to do. Recaps wouldn't be up until the next game is being played! lol