Pelicans Outscored by 10 in 4th Quarter, Fall 98-94 to Bulls

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Published: December 12, 2015

For three quarters, the Pelicans looked like the better team in Chicago tonight. They didn’t play great offensively, but they were on the second night of a back-to-back against a very good defensive Bulls team. Their defense was solid, holding Chicago to 20-58 shooting from the field. Simply put, the Pels played well enough to win this game for the first 36 minutes. Until the 4th, the only thing that kept the Bulls in the game was the free throw disparity. The Pelicans were +10 in points in the paint through 3 quarters, but -19 in free throw attempts, which is a fairly questionable statistic. Nonetheless, New Orleans led by 6 entering the 4th.

Then, Aaron Brooks happened.

Brooks played almost the entire 4th quarter, scoring 15 points on just 7 attempts (3-4 from beyond the arc); Jrue Holiday’s absence absolutely hurt in this regard. Despite his huge quarter, the Pelicans found themselves with a chance to take the lead in the final minute, as Gentry drew up a great play that got Gordon a wide open 3-point shot. Unfortunately, it didn’t fall, while Derrick Rose’s subsequent mid-range fadeaway jumper did.

Key Questions

  1. To crash or not to crash? Before the game, I wondered whether or not the Pelicans would put a greater emphasis on crashing the offensive glass due to the Bulls being so good defensively but less than great at defensive rebounding. The answer to this was no, as the Pels finished with just 5 offensive rebounds and 8 second chance points. To their credit, though, the Bulls only managed 4 fast break points, so at least New Orleans was able to be effective in the strategy they chose.
  2. Which team benefits more from the game’s pace? Hard to say that either team benefited much more than the other in this regard. In the first half, the Pelicans appeared to have the edge, but tired legs in the second half shifted this edge to the Bulls.
  3. Can the Pelicans defend the 3-point line? The Bulls shot 40% from long range; while that isn’t a good number for New Orleans, allowing it on only 20 attempts is definitely manageable.

Game Notes

First, Anthony Davis’ shot chart:

Shotchart_1449978126972

  • Anthony Davis had a rough shooting night from the field, but he did it to himself to an extent. Davis frequently settled for jumpers rather than moving without the ball and putting himself in better position to score. With each passing game, it seems as if AD is falling more and more in love with the mid-range game rather than doing what he does best – use his athleticism and size to create mismatches. To his credit, he started to adjust his play in the game’s final 5 minutes, earning trips to the free throw line by moving towards the rim. Overall, though, a disappointing night and effort from Davis.
  • Alonzo Gee was arguably the Pelicans’ most valuable player tonight. He accumulated 5 steals and held Jimmy Butler to 4-16 shooting from the field.
  • Omer Asik followed up the best quarter of his season in the first quarter tonight by a very lackluster final 3 quarters. When Asik was in the game, the Bulls looked like they were even MORE interested in getting the ball to Gasol to attack him, and if his 4 fouls in 12 minutes are any indication, it worked pretty well. Asik still hasn’t been able to put together a complete game this season, even using 2014-15 Asik as the standard.
  • Norris Cole played easily his best game of the season tonight, finally looking to pass before getting his own shot. Cole finished with 10 points, 6 assists, and 6 rebounds.
  • Tyreke Evans looks like he’s still trying to adjust to and/or learn Gentry’s system while also trying to get fully healthy. A rough shooting night for Evans overall (22 points on 22 shots), although the 8-1 assist-turnover ratio doesn’t look too bad.
  • I thought Ajinca played pretty well defensively tonight. He picked up a couple quick fouls in the 3rd quarter (one too far away from the rim), but apart from that, he looked good defensively against a tough match-up in Pau Gasol (who shot just 6-15 tonight).

The Pelicans continue their road trip in Portland on Monday night.

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