Nuggets Streak in the 3rd Quarter, Drop the Pelicans

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Published: December 15, 2013

The New Orleans Pelicans put up a good fight against the Denver Nuggets for the first two and a half quarters. It was then that the bench decided they didn’t want to score points or stop Denver from scoring. An 8-0 run for the Nuggets in the third period turned a close game into an eventual 102-93 loss.

Down Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson stepping into the starting lineup, Tyreke Evans out, more minutes going to Austin Rivers and Brian Roberts, you knew there was potential for the second unit to struggle. Forced to go with a Rivers, Roberts, Morrow, Anderson and Amundson lineup is just never going to get it done against quality NBA teams. Though the team played well, in the end the Pelicans just didn’t have enough talent to win.

Notes:

–While the lack of talent hurt tonight, the Pelicans’ effort was great–just as it has been all season long. For all the criticism Monty Wiliams has received his teams never quit and show up ready to play.

–I’ve been a big backer of Lou Amundson going back to last season but I’m becoming less happy with each game. The main problem is he’s playing too many minutes with Davis out. Amundson gives you good rotations which, especially on this young team with it’s lack of court awareness, is important. That’s great and useful in limited minutes, say 8 a game. But when he plays more than that the fouls and turnovers become an issue and hurt the team. Amundson is averaing 10 minutes a game this season; tonight he played 19. When Davis comes back and Withey develops those minutes will go down.

–Austin Rivers got almost 22 minutes of time on the court and he contributed. 5 of 9 from the field, including 2 3-pointers and 5 of 7 from the line. Awesome. The 3’s and free throws are going to be important for him to keep working on. If he can consistently space the court the second unit will be much, much better.

–Ryan Anderson didn’t have his best shooting night but this happens from time to time. Maybe it was the altitude in Denver, or a lack of rest or whatever. Shooters have bad games. I think everyone would still want him on the court as much as possible.

–Rebounding was subpar tonight. When the three starting front court players grab a total of 14 rebounds you know it’s going to be a rough night. Denver’s front court took advantage and that’s where the Pelicans were hurt. If you take out free throws and 3-pointers Denver scored 60 points. Of those 60, 40 came from inside the paint. With Davis out the Pelicans do not have anyone who can defend the rim from a relentless attack. Kenneth Faried and JJ Hickson were doing damage all night long and the Nuggets looked to get them the ball often.

–Morrow put up an O-fer from the field tonight. He really needs to make two or three shots from deep to help take the pressure off the starters. When he’s having an off night the Pelicans’ second unit becomes much easier to defend.

Overall, it’s hard to judge the team after a loss like this with two key players out. Some of the lineups used tonight are not going to be playing together regularly. Sometimes teams matchup against others poorly. And there are nights when the shots just won’t go down. We saw a little of all that tonight. Let’s just skip over this game and look towards the next one.

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