Pelicans continue to be destroyed by stretch forwards

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Published: November 5, 2013

Last season, the then Hornets had a habit of being destroyed by sweet-shooting big men as they followed an aggressive pack-the-paint scheme.  That scheme is still in effect, though not as aggressive – but it resulted tonight in much the same thing as last year defensively.  The Suns simply put five guys on the floor who could shoot, penetrated, and as soon as the Pelicans collapsed a little, found the most open shooter and let fly.  The Morris brothers and Gerald Green started hitting in the second quarter, and they really got going in the third.  Once those deep shots went down, the Pelicans had to honor the shooters – and that opened up pick and roll attacks through the middle.

Defense is the problem.  It was the problem last year – it is the problem this year.  Admittedly, the Pelicans are capable of some absolutely spectacular defensive plays in the form of steals and blocks, but their fundamentals and communication are killing them.

Observations:

  • There is no bigger boom or bust player in the league than Eric Bledsoe.  Jrue actually did a good job on him – but with Bledsoe either you cut him off from getting his head of steam, or you watch him score.  Holiday did a solid job pressuring him into a lot of mistakes, but when he got beat, bad things happened.
  • Of course, the opposite is true too.   Bledsoe kept him from getting his own shot going with tight defense – but when Holiday got free, he generally broke down the Suns and generated nice shots for other players on the team.
  • The Pelicans stopped attacking the rim as the game went on and they ended up getting into a jump-shooting contest.  They aren’t going to win those sorts of contests when they shoot long twos and the other team is shooting threes.
  • I’m sick of fast breaks that involve exactly zero passing.  Run the break the right way, guys.
  • Tyreke Evans continues to struggle on both ends of the court.  His role is right, but his finishing touch around the rim is still not there.
  • Anthony Davis had his worst game of the season – and was still really good, posting 17 and 11 and 5.  He looked kinda pissed off out there that they were losing the game.  Good.
  • With Bledsoe focusing on Holiday/Gordon and Tucker sticking to Morrow or Evans, Roberts was carving up that Phoenix defense.  Honestly, with out him this was a laugher.

Pelicans are 1-3.  They need to start figuring out that defense, or the new NBA and it’s three point specialists are going to bury them.

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