Rockets Shoot 3 of 34 from Deep, Still Beat the Pelicans Anyway

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Published: March 2, 2016

New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry summed it up best with his post game quotes:

“We come out after every game and say ‘well we’re in the playoff picture.’ No, we’re not. We’re not. What we are is a team that when we have an opportunity to do something, we didn’t get it done. So that is the bottom line.”

I could leave that and the picture as the recap and it would suffice. But, no, the Pelicans deserve to have how bad of a loss this was etched into internet immortality. So let’s say it another way

The Houston Rockets shot 3 for 34 from behind the arc and beat the Pelicans 100-95.

Let that sink in because I’m pretty sure it’s an NBA record of some sort. This game was as close to a must-win for this Pelicans team. They probably weren’t going to make the playoffs anyway but they still needed to come out and take advantage of the Rockets off night.

So what did they do instead? Let James Harden go for 39. In 39 minutes Anthony Davis went 5 for 13, for 12 points. Jrue Holiday went 5 of 13 for 13 points. Meanwhile, Norris Cole took 16 shots, and did score 21. While Ryan Anderson went a cool 5 for 20. Does something seem off? Because it should.

But it also shouldn’t. Because this is just the most Pelicans thing ever. How many times have we seen this team, over the past couple of seasons not just this one, play down to the inferior level of their opponent? It’s like the BatDad episode of South Park where the team keeps trying to lose on purpose by specifically playing dumb. Except that the Pelicans aren’t doing it on purpose. This is just who they are. And we’re like Randy because we get upset and have no idea what’s going on–even when it’s just staring us in the face–so we just fight on twitter.

Close game with under five minutes left and Norris Cole is taking contested long mid range jumpers? We should just expect that at this point.

22 turnovers? Many that could have been avoided without careless passes? Standard operating procedure.

Moments of great offense that last as long as flash paper once Davis gets doubled teamed and no one has any idea what to do next? Check.

Dante Cunningham leaving mid-game with an injury after he was 4 of 7 from 3? Yup, yup, yup.

All that and more!

If the Pelicans had any expectations of the playoffs they now need to re-calibrate. Gentry’s quotes are probably good for the team. Focus on setting a foundation for next season. And I do not mean tank for a high draft pick.

Observations (Now That I’m Done Ranting):

–Davis being a non-factor was not just on the Pelicans being dumb. The Rockets had an excellent defensive game plan for him. Trevor Ariza blanketed him on the perimeter and whenever he’d get the ball they doubled him down low. He got a few assists early on from it, but after that wasn’t able to do much so the Pelicans went away from him. This isn’t some novel way to defend Davis, it’s something that has happened all season. The Pelicans should be able to adapt better at this point.

–Norris Cole is a frustrating player on this Pelicans team. I don’t want to say more than that right now.

–Kendrick Perkins had the highest +/- on the team at +11.

–The Rockets are good at drawing fouls, and they lead the NBA in in free throws attempted. Tonight they attempted 25 more than the Pelicans. Which is probably what kept them in the game despite the Pelicans best effort. Again, nothing new here and the team should gameplan accordingly.

–What the hell is Darren Erman supposed to do about defense with the basketball IQs this team has? Even simplifying the defense to three calls seems too many right now.

5 Comments

  1. 504ever

    March 3, 2016 at 9:35 am

    I don’t see how you didn’t call the coaching staff out.  Things were not this bad last year with the same players.

  2. Michael McNamara

    March 3, 2016 at 10:42 am

    504ever They kinda were. Both teams were .500 teams when relatively healthy. Last year’s team just got a burst with two trades late in the season and took advantage of a soft schedule. But make no mistake, you are looking at a .500 type team, just this one somehow had even worse luck than last years team in the 2nd half of the year and this year Cole regressed to the mean, where last year he and Gordon played well above their heads and hit shots they normally don’t hit at that frequency. 
    The coaching isn’t great, but let’s not pretend it was last year either. Common denominator is the low IQ players. Q-Pon helped A LOT with that last year. Remember, they were 18-19 before they got him. They weren’t as good last year as some seem to remember.

  3. TeddyGeorge

    March 3, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Dude you failed to mention Holiday and his consecutive turnovers in consecutive games.

  4. 504ever

    March 3, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    Michael McNamara 504ever
    Just one example:  I don’t think it is fair to explain Cole’s and Gordon’s superior play last year as ‘regressing to the mean this year’ and not even consider the impact of coaching.
    Also, why did Houston blitz our last offensive plays last night and we not do the same to them?  That is on the coaching staff.

  5. Michael McNamara

    March 3, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    504ever Michael McNamara Why did Phoenix fall off from 2013 to 2014? Same, if not better players. Same coaching staff. Players just regressed to the mean after many had a career year in 2012 and/or had career best health. 
    Again, our coaching staff has done nothing to show they are great, but it is possible (and likely IMO) that both staffs are/were below average.

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