New Orleans Pelicans @ San Antonio Spurs: Yellow Ledbetter Open Thread

Published: November 8, 2014

The New Orleans Pelicans tip against the San Antonio Spurs tonight at 7:30 CT in San Antonio. The game is on 105.3 FM, Fox Sports New Orleans, and NBA TV.

Both the Spurs and Pelicans are 2-2. Digging more deeply into the shallow pool of games played by each team yields very little insight, sadly. More telling is that the Spurs will be without Belinelli (groin) and Splitter (calf). The Pelicans’ list of potentially unavailable players is much less troublesome: Babbitt, Salmons, Miller.

This game seems like it will boil down to the star big men and guards on each side, which is pretty simple, and shooting. Neither team is setting the world on fire, but the Pelicans are out-missing the Spurs through 4 games. In fact, they are shooting pretty much exactly like the vocals on Yellow Ledbetter. You can’t understand it in too many places be comfortable talking about it, you know something good is underneath it all, the meter is just off from what you expect, and there are enough high spots to keep you tuned in.

Another truth from Pearl Jam there: I don’t know whether I was the boxer or the bag.

An unsung aspect of the Pelicans’ ability to counter their poor shooting is their limiting of turnovers (2nd best in NBA in TOV% on offense) while playing decent defense in that respect. This is despite the repeated and repeatedly-unfounded mentions of the ball-handlers turnover problems. Again, for a lead guard, turnovers are the cost of being in the assist business. The Pelicans’ assist leaders (Evans, Holiday, Rivers) have an AST/TO of 59/24, which is nearly 2.5. This is quite good. Holiday, the assist leader, is at 25/7, or nearly 3.5. Small sample sizes, to be sure, but the evidence is still in favor of Jrue and the Gang. That said, when the turnovers are high, the team struggles, so they get highlighted, so it’s understandable why, at first blush, this would be a first impression. Still, no need to punish the team for one of its better aspects; punish them for their shooting, instead.

The Spurs do not have great success on either side with respect to turnovers. Those turnovers are similar to a 0% shot attempt and 0% rebound rate off it. The Pelicans likely have to protect themselves by playing to their strength here. This may be the womp-rat-sized whatever to target, the pair of Hobbits sneaking around the scary mountain (with Gollum sneaking behind them), the animal-style not on this In-N-Out menu, whatever turns Rocky from the Bag into the Boxer . . . whatever.

Pelicans Stats
Spurs Stats

We’ll update this post with any news, relevant articles, or great comments, of course.

My questions to start the chit-chat:

  • How will the Davis Duncan battles go (when they happen)?
  • (Reprise) How will Jimmer Fredette score his first field goal for the Pelicans?
  • The Pelicans are among the worst shooting teams in the NBA (27th in FT% and 2P%, 30th in FG% and 3P%): Can they get their mojo in game 5?
  • How great is Pearl Jam?

On a weekend, I wanna wish it all away?


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