New Orleans Pelicans Play a Decent Game, Win

Published: January 13, 2016

The New Orleans Pelicans (12-26) are in a virtual tie for 12th in the Western Conference now after defeating the Sacramento Kings (15-23) 109-97 and are now 5 games out of the eighth seed in the West. Their postseason hopes are bleaker than a casual look at those indicates, but these are the bare facts.

  • Aside from the win, the big story is that while Anthony Davis played (24 points, 10 rebounds, 37 minutes), Tyreke Evans injured his knee. His knee was swollen early in the game, and the decision was made to hold him out for the rest of the game. Evans said he’d get the knee drained and see if he can be ready to go Friday.
  • The Pelicans were passing well for the most part. Jen Hale reported that Gentry wanted to see at least 25 assists; the Pelicans had 27 with just 7 total turnovers. More than the assists, the ball movement was good.
  • The defense was good in this game. Even when the offense stalled, and it did, but not for too long (just 2 points in a 6 minute stretch in the fourth, the defense kept the damage manageable. The major defensive factor in the game was the turnovers generated, which was a little above the Kings’ average. Even if it was at or below the Kings’ average, the Pelicans have not exactly been performing at an average level for the entire season, so this is good.
  • Despite the win and the good aspects of the performance, there was that big scoring drought, and during that time the defense was not great. A quick flurry gave the Kings’ life, and though the defense stemmed the bleeding, it wasn’t exactly a toothy defense the Kings were facing.
  • The upside to the lapse was the coaches were clearly impassioned. They were very animated with each other, and they seemed to be able to bring things under control before the game was lost.
  • I said before the game I was going to keep an eye on Gordon. His play was very nice, as is his line in the box score. One game is not enough to satisfy my very healthy skepticism, but this game was encouraging in that respect.

After some reflection on this game, I’m encouraged that the team can tread water and is improvable, but I don’t put a win against the Kings as a shining light of hope when viewed against their recent performances. My main takeaway is that the team is not actively tanking, as has been suggested, at least at this point, that the team is salvageable with some roster changes, and there is some value in trying to get some decent play this season, such as getting playing time with Holiday and Davis together.

The Pelicans next play Friday at the Smoothie King Center. They will host the Charlotte Hornets in the Battle of the Brands at 7:00 pm (UTC -6). The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports New Orleans and on the Pelicans Radio Network, 99.5 FM locally.

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