Pels Fall Late to Mavericks

Published: March 2, 2015

It became clear early on that defense would not be the name of this game, as both teams got off to blazing hot starts. For the Mavericks, it was Rajon Rondo, who scored 15 first half points. And for the Pelicans, it was Tyreke, who scored 7 points in his first 6 minutes. Things were a little weird – Gordon was getting foul calls, the bank was open for Rondo, and Reke even sprinkled in an early 3. And then the bench came in.

I think fans are currently overrating Ajinca and underrating Asik right now, but damn, is Ajinca finding his niche on offense. Whatever has gotten into Ajinca lately, I don’t care.. he’s throwing his body into his defender in the post and scoring via fluffy turnaround Js and hooks.  And as Chris Romaguera pointed out, the run has been far more than a spell of good shooting.  He just looks like a different player.

I continue to be impressed by Norris Cole, Dante Cunningham, and Quincy Pondexter, 3 scrappy players who will do all the garbage work needed to win. Cunningham had an off shooting night and I didn’t care. Those 3 players are a breath of fresh air.  Cannot say enough about their attention to detail.  Cole’s shooting is bound to come down to earth, but he does enough other things to make him valuable even if his shot is off. For instance, he received a pass near the end of the 2nd quarter and was standing alone on the 3 point line.  He easily could’ve shot, but shoveled a pass to Eric Gordon instead, who drilled the 3.  Gordon is our best shooter and it was the right basketball play.

But then the 2nd half happened, and tired legs made tired plays.  The Mavs ran the Pels ragged. I don’t want to pretend that this was a game solely lost on tired legs, because the Mavs are a superior team – even with their absences. But the energy level dropped in the 2nd half and it did factor in. The beginning of the 2nd half featured some abysmal Pelicans offense and it was essentially over from there.  Monta Ellis, who was unusually quiet tonight, put the Pelicans away for good late in the 4th quarter.

In reality, losing tonight was only disappointing because the Pelicans have played so well in the absence of Davis, Jrue, and Ryno.  The expectations have changed and that is undoubtedly a great thing. The energy did noticeably dip in the 3rd quarter, but the Pelicans summoned enough to at least try to make it interesting after the Mavs busted the game open.

And the best news of the night? Jen Hale reported that Anthony Davis is nearing a return. The Pelicans have been both successful and fun to watch with their best player in a suit, and hey, that’s enough for me.  Come back soon, AD!


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