Pelicans Fall to Grizzlies Again

Published: February 2, 2016

The New Orleans Pelicans fall to 18-29 after being defeated by the Memphis Grizzlies (29-20) in what was a close game until the end. The final score was 110-95, but the Pelicans were outscored 33-20 in the fourth quarter after leading with under 7 minutes left to play. A 2 minute stretch shortly after this featured a 10-0 Grizzlies run that effectively ended the game, as the run ended with 94 points for the Grizzlies; the Pelicans had 95 at the end of the game, which included something close to garbage time.

In the keys to the game, I focused on getting to the line, turnovers, and rebounds. The Pelicans actually ok to well in all these categories. You may question my claim about rebounds here, but that’s fine as it leads to the heart of the matter. The Pelicans went 36 of 88 from the field, missing 52 shots. Of those, the Grizzlies grabbed 37, the Pelicans 14 (there is a team rebound in there, too), which is a good showing by the Pelicans. Also, the Grizzlies only grabbed 3 of their own misses compared to 23 by the Pelicans. So while the Pelicans grabbed fewer rebounds, this hides the good job the Pelicans did on boards on a percentage basis. In other words, you can’t penalize the rebounders for the Grizzlies only missing 28 shots (2 team rebounds). Now, I’d pin the few misses on the Pelicans pretty squarely.

This, of course, is the real issue. The Grizzlies shot over 60% tonight (43/71) and had 50 points in the paint. They also shot well from 3, adding to their efficiency. Normally, the Grizzlies are about average in attempting shots close to the rim and poor at actually converting them (worst in the NBA), but that didn’t stop them from going to town on the Pelicans.

The team harped on late game 3-pointers by Carter and others, but this game was lost because of the uncharacteristically high efficiency of the Grizzlies’ shots, largely due to their bigs receiving the ball close to the basket and scoring easily. Further highlighting this: Asik, Ajinca, and Gee were the only Pelicans with a positive +/- for the game. Asik and Ajinca were also strong rebounders, it should be noted.

The Pelicans remain 4 game behind the 8th seed in 12th place. This is about where they were more than a month ago, though in a slightly better rank because some teams have just fallen apart. I said it then, before then, since then, and I’ll repeat it now: the number of games back is just not that important without other stuff in place. If you want to focus on losing, the team will be hard pressed to get something better than a 6th position in the lotto. If you want to see a real change, root for a trade.

The Pelicans travel to San Antonio to play the Spurs Wednesday night at 7 pm CT (UTC -6). The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports New Orleans and the Pelicans Radio Network, 99.5 FM locally.


  1. Come On Pelican

    February 2, 2016 at 8:11 am

    It would be a mistake for us Pelicans fans to try to read
    too much into last night’s loss to the Grizzlies.  The simple fact of the matter is friggin’
    amazing 39-year-old Vince Carter just completely went off and added more
    footage to the incredible highlight reel that will be shown upon his eventual
    retirement.  And there wasn’t anything
    any Pelican – or any other player in the NBA for that matter – could have done
    about it.  We should all just take a
    moment to stand in awe at the man’s unbelievable career and feel fortunate that
    we have been able to witness some of it.  And then, after our brief reflection about Vince Carter ends, we can turn
    our attention to Wed. night and start rooting for the Pels to give the Spurs
    their first home loss of the season.

  2. 504ever

    February 2, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Come On Pelican
    Except the Pelican got outshot by 20% in FGs and FTs, and Carter did most of his damage from 3 point land.  Jeff Green was pretty strong, too, including from 3.  Green and Carter were significant upgrades for Memphis last year, whereas the Pelicans are currently without Q-Pon, Tyreke, and Gordon. How good can the Pelicans be without those 3?  That question was answered last night.  The Pelicans need good to great games from their big three (Davis, Ryno, & Jrue) to win.  That didn’t happen last night.

  3. NOEngineer

    February 2, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    504ever Come On Pelican A lot of the Grizzlies makes in the paint were on crazy flip shots and fall-away hook shots.  Many were preceded by Randolph traveling or camping in the lane for a while.  There weren’t that many easy baskets given up, just lucky/skillful unorthodox shots by the Griz.
    It sucks to give away games by missing free throws.  Sucks!
    I was happy when Vince missed his first 3, and said I hoped he kept shooting them.  Oops….
    Holiday was the reason we lost this game.  Bad turnovers early, horrible shooting throughout.   Anderson was timid, seeming afraid to shoot open looks much of the game.

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