Clippers Beat Pelicans Because of Only One Reason

Published: December 19, 2013

Coaching. It’s everything. Monty Williams is in complete, total control of every single thing that happens on the court. Did a player miss a shot? His fault. Did Chris Paul carve up our defense? His fault.

Sadly, I left this game with a bitter feeling, and it had nothing to do with actually happened in the 48 on-court minutes. Instead, it had to do with the rampant scapegoating and despair that a portion of our fan base seemingly couldn’t avoid.

It’s hard to win on the road.
It’s hard to win at the Clippers’ home court.
It’s hard to win on the second night of a back to back.
It’s hard to win when calls aren’t going your way until the game has been decided.
It’s hard to win when you are getting two of your best players back for their first game.
It’s hard to win when you are playing the smartest and best point guard in the game today.
It’s hard to win when your players are walking under shooters, giving up easy dunks, and allowing 36 free throws.

I don’t know if Monty Williams is a great coach. I really and truly don’t. While I’m sitting on my couch eating Twizzlers and watching the game, Monty is out there coaching an NBA team. So if/when I critique something, I try to keep in mind that Monty Williams knows 10x more about basketball than I ever will- and this is just a guess, but I bet it applies to most of the fans as well.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t question decisions, or that you should just stare blankly at the screen and not try to analyze the game. He makes mistakes, and you might catch them.. and that’s fine. Voice them intelligently, discuss them, whatever.. but please, for the love of all that is good in this world, stop saying cliches about coaching without any sort of explanation. And tonight, I don’t think there’s much Monty could have done.

Back to the Game

Okay, so back to the actual game. The reasons that I listed above matter- the Pelicans were playing a superior team on the 2nd night of a back to back. They were playing a team that beat the Warriors by 11, the Rockets by 19, and the Thunder by 8.

Circumstances were not in the Pelicans favor tonight. Tyreke Evans hit his first field goal with about 6 minutes to go in the game, Ryan Anderson’s shot was off, and not a single Pelicans player registered a positive +/- tonight. The Pelicans managed to collect a ridiculous amount of offensive rebounds, but there were 2 sequences that must’ve accounted for half of those. And in each situation, the Pelicans took 3 or 4 looks at the basket that were nowhere close to going in.

The Pelicans also struggled to contain Chris Paul, which led to 10,000  many open dunks for Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, who feasted upon the rim all night. When the Pelicans tried to collapse the defense to stop this, Jared Dudley and other shooters started getting open looks.

The refs certainly weren’t helping either, and though they made some calls at the end to make the gap seem less drastic, they weren’t too kind with the whistle when the outcome was actually somewhat opaque; as always, I’m not saying this is why the Pelicans lost, but I don’t think the officiating helped matters tonight.

The good news, though, was that Anthony Davis and Tyreke Evans returned from injury, and really, that’s what I take from tonight. Yeah, there are plenty of ugly things that happened in the game, and I’ll surely wince a few times when watching film tomorrow. But really, what is more important than getting the Pelicans’ franchise player back roughly a month before we were supposed to? Evans’ return is also a sight for sore eyes, as the Pelicans bench had lost some serious punch in the games he had missed.

Davis looked rusty, but still managed to put up a gaudy stat line. He was seemingly everywhere, and he had no problems throwing his body around despite probably being a little tentative about his injury. Davis’s shorts mopped up every bit of the Staples Center floor tonight, whether it was falling on a dunk attempt, saving a loose ball, or doing that “I am in a bad situation with the ball and am going to pass to a teammate awkwardly while I fall the floor” thing.

Be calm and press on. Davis and Evans returning to the lineup was great to see, and maybe the Pelicans can steal a game or two to close this road trip. Better times lie ahead, so be patient. There is no reason to panic.




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