About That 4th Quarter

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Published: December 14, 2016

The New Orleans Pelicans suffered a heartbreaking loss last night to the Golden State Warriors. After scoring 94 points through three quarters New Orleans could only muster 15 points in the fourth. But the offense wasn’t as bad as it seems. Let’s take a look.

The Pelicans’ offense ranks as the 6th worst in the league right now. But it did not rear it’s ugly head last night, nor did the team fail to execute. Take a look at the shot chart below:

shotchart

Ignore the red and green for a second and simply focus on where the Pelicans did and didn’t shoot from. There are 11 attempts in the paint or on the block, and 10 attempts from three. Not one shot was attempted from the ‘dumb zone.’ That is excellent, smart shot selection. More than that, if you rewatch the Pelicans shot attempts in the 4th quarter is that almost all of them were good looks. Two, maybe three, were really contested.

The problem was that the Pelicans just weren’t making their shots. Hence all the red in the shot chart. And that is the overall problem with this team.

Shooting

The Pelicans rank 22nd in Field Goal % and 27th in Three-Point %. And that’s after the past two games where the Pelicans have shot incredibly well from deep.

When crunch-time hits, who do you trust to score on the Pelicans? Langston Galloway has been on fire recently but was 0-3 in the 4th quarter. Galloway is a streaky shooter, and it’s tough to need consistency out of someone like that. E’Twaun Moore and Jrue Holiday were a combined 1-5 in the period.

So, while the shot selection was good (it really was!) you have to figure the Pelicans might not come through. It’s a problem with the roster construction; the Pelicans just don’t have players they can rely upon to close games out.

But they have Anthony Davis, you might say!

Well, last night he did not come through when the Pelicans needed him. He shot 1-4 from the field in the final period. And, when the Pelicans had a chance to tie or take the lead as the clock wound down, Draymond Green stole the ball from him.

Say what you want about whether that final steal was a foul or not, but Davis playing with his back to the basket 18-feet from the rim against a top 3 defender isn’t a recipe for success. Davis needs to get that ball and attack, not let Green establish a defensive position. A few possessions before Davis had a layup blocked by Kevin Durant. In that situation he needs to go strong to the rim and at least come away with free throws.

But with a roster that struggles to shoot, and until Davis learns how to consistently finish games, this Pelicans team is not built to close out close games.

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