Observations: Pelicans at Nuggets

Published: November 21, 2014

The Pelicans did something new every quarter tonight.  Each quarter, they lost in a slightly different way.  In the first, after racing out to a quick lead, they decided they wanted to turn the ball over more than they ever had.  In the second, the deployed an offense that consisted of pick and rolls that got Ryan Anderson the ball 20 feet or more from the basket, guarded.  Those ended fairly badly.  In the third, they decided that layups would be helpful – for the other team.  And in the fourth?  Other than a couple shots each by Ajinca and Davis, they took nothing from closer than 18 feet.  That’ll help.

Non-Bitter Observations:

  • Jrue Holiday was brilliant defensively for most of the game, anticipating Ty Lawson and hounding him all over the floor.  The one time Lawson beat him on a iso cross-over Jrue calmly trailed and spiked his shot.
  • There was a lot of lucky stupid stuff going Denver’s way – but the Pelicans never really came out and made a run either.  I kept expecting them to try to lock down on defense and make a run, but they never really stopped the Nuggets from getting to the middle of the floor.
  • John Salmons was awful.  He hit his two shots, but his defense was so late and so slow-footed he deserved every moment of his -18 plus-minus.
  • The Nuggets were very good at containing Rivers tonight.  Typically Austin can get separation with his excellent ball handling – but the Nuggets kept fading back and not buying his fakes.  It’s a lot of why the Pelicans couldn’t get good shots with that second unit and kept having Ryan Anderson trying to bail them out with fade-away mid range shots over tight contests.  If Rivers can’t get into the paint, he’s a ball-pounding liability.
  • Danilo Galinari has been awful all season.  Awful.  The Pelicans clearly came into the game thinking they’d let him take shots as a result.  And he buried them.  17 points on 7 shots.  Yikes.
  • The Pelicans seemed to fall down a lot.  It put them in a lot of bad situations defensively against a running Nuggets team.

Lets hope they can bounce back against the feisty Jazz tomorrow night.  This conference is ridiculously hard.  The Jazz and Nuggets are in the bottom five of the conference, and are still 5-7.  Crazy.


  1. wthomas178

    November 22, 2014 at 12:57 am

    Let Jrue.be the every possession point for the team. I love Tyreke more than anybody, but some has confused his very specific skill set as that of a PG. It is not. He is a pure slasher with the average ability to find the open man and the below average ability to finish at the rim. I noticed with Jrue we ran out sets better, it was more organized with the spacing and ball rotation, as opposed to Tyreke who is pretty one dimensional in his attack. Let Jrue be the PG we all imagined him to be..oh and give Ajinca minutes to Withey.. I’ve seen enough!!

  2. Come On Pelican

    November 22, 2014 at 6:10 am

    Aside from the obvious fact that this Pelicans team is
    vastly different without Omer Asik on the court, what I saw that was new during
    last night’s game against the Nuggets was the team giving more playing time with
    the starting unit to Jrue Holiday at the point guard position.Holiday is still not 100%, and he continues
    to play through his recovery (the simple fact that he’s doing that and the team
    is letting him do that says a lot about both Jrue and the importance the team
    places on having him in the starting lineup in whatever capacity he’s able to fill).During the early games this season, what we’ve
    seen much more of in the starting unit is Tyreke Evans at the point forward position, with Jrue
    playing a non-point guard role.When a
    team makes a major adjustment like they did last night (putting Holiday in his
    true point guard role, which is of course is where he needs to be, when fully healthy),
    there are always going to be struggles that accompany that type of adjustment.But what we saw while the team is adjusting
    to this change last night, as Coach Williams observed after the game, was more
    Pelicans possessions that wound down to under 5 seconds on the shot clock,
    resulting in many forced shots.While it’s
    painful to watch these kinds of adjustments when they’re foundering right
    before our eyes, it’s actually quite a good thing to see that everyone feels Holiday
    is finally healthy enough to start spending more time with the starting unit in
    his true point guard role.

  3. NOEngineer

    November 22, 2014 at 9:51 am

    We were taking mostly the right kinds of shots, but missing them all.   We played 20 seconds of good defense, and they were able to convert in the last 4 seconds with some incredible shot-making.   We also made double the number of lazy passes than we have been making.  On the other hand, we did shoot a lot of free throws.   This was a physical game, and without Asik we will have big trouble in physical games.   We don’t have crisp passers or physical big men who can score, so the little grabs and bumps that happen in playoff basketball bother us more than some other teams.   If our guards can’t finish at the rim, and Anderson can’t hit a 3, then we will lose to any good team.    I do think our training opportunities for the bench need to be severely restricted when we are losing or close.
    I was pleased to see Withey rebound more effectively than in previous outings.   If he can do that while he learns to play defense then he will be worth playing.  
    I was disappointed that AD was pulled before he got his 20th point and 10th rebound.  That streak would have been nice to extend.   I know they gave him a few long jumpers to try, but I would have liked to see Tyreke miss one to him for the offensive rebound and stickback.

  4. Bmatthews31

    November 22, 2014 at 10:04 am

    I’m not sure whether it was just me thinking this and I may be missing a valid reason for this but I thoughts Monty’s rotations were very strange last night, especially in the 4th.
    So 3-4 minutes left in the he 3rd (down 10) he decides to roll with the reserves :- fair enough, as the starters didn’t really do a great job earlier in the quarter.
    But then after the reserves let the nuggets extend their lead to about 20 at the end of the 3rd Monty opts to stay with the reserves and reduce the amount of time the Pels have to make a push. I mean surely logic says put the starters back in and see if they can make a push at the start of the 4th then if it’s looking bad then give up and go to the bench unit.
    It was so frustrating to watch as it seemed like Monty was doing the opposite of what common sense dictates.
    Am I alone in my thoughts?

  5. kfte

    November 22, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Second team defense was horrible. Rivers is the only one that unit that can play defense and he wasn’t good last night. I understand this was the first of a back to back, but starters needed to play more in the 3rd.Lay ups, lay ups ,open shots ,open  shots  that killed any chance of the Pels getting back in the game. The only good thing I saw was the play of Withey. He played hard and aggressive all night long. I would start him tonight if Asik can play tonight. I am not liking what they are getting from Ajinca. The Pels need to find someone off the bench other then Anderson , offensively. You notice I said offensively because Anderson doesn’t know the meaning of the word DEFENSE! Still trying to figure out why Salmon and Jimmer are on this team.We  can add Miller and Babbitt to that list unless something changes in the next two weeks.

  6. Pelican Poster

    November 23, 2014 at 12:18 am

    Agree with all comments…Withey was a pleasant surprise…I think Monty could tell his guys were just not going to turn it around and decided it best to cut his losses and hold them for the Utah game…think it was a good call as the guys were much fresher tonight against the Jazz.  Like that our guys are showing some resiliency by bouncing back the next night after a loss to get a win.  I think that is progress.

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