New Orleans Pelicans lose big to Minnesota Timberwolves 124 to 112

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Published: January 1, 2014

After a resounding win against the Portland Trail Blazers the New Orleans Pelicans promptly lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night 124 to 112. Ryan Anderson led the Pelicans with 25 points and Tyreke Evans contributed 16 points off the bench.

But it was no match for a Timberwolves squad that played swarming defense and continually got to the free-throw line.

I really want to rant, I really do. The thing is that stuff like this happens. It’s easy to say, “Where’s the effort?” Or, “The referees were bias against us.” But the truth is there are glaring issues with this team and when things don’t run your way you have nights like this.

The first quarter was closely contested and the Pelicans got out to an early lead. Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson had two early fouls each so Brian Roberts and Greg Stiemsma checked in and the Pelicans lead went away never to return.

The second quarter was a disaster as the Pelicans continued to foul at an alarming rate. Compounding their problems was the turnovers. They had 8 turnovers in the 2nd quarter alone as guards dribbled the ball into the lane only to lose control and possession.

Opening the 3rd quarter things only got worse as a quick run by the Wolves opened up the gap to an insurmountable lead. This is where the Pelicans lost their cool and their focus. They continued to foul and just weren’t communicating on defense. Nobody helped the helper and everyone was looking at each other like, “What the heck man, this is someone’s fault,” not realizing it was collectively their own.

This team is just a poor defensive unit. When they turn the ball over they just will not win basketball games. What a gut-check after the game the other day, yeesh.

The Good

  • Ryan Anderson was not hitting his three’s tonight. However he attacked the basket and had 4 offensive rebounds. He played 40 minutes tonight and that’s really annoying considering this game was out of hand for much of the night. 25 points on 17 shots, 5 rebounds and 2 assists.
  • Tyreke Evans is in form and continues to impress. While there were some shaky moments Evans attacked the basket and rebounded well. 16 points on 14 shots, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and only 1 turnover.
  • Austin Rivers actually impressed tonight. When the game mattered he played solid defense and made smart decisions on offense. The team was just so out of sync that his effort will go mostly unnoticed. It was brief, but it was positive.

The Bad

  • Anthony Davis lost his composure tonight. It was such a frustrating game with the referees continually calling fouls on New Orleans for such ticky-tack stuff, but when Davis was whacked the officials swallowed their whistles. He started off well with a number of blocks (4 tonight), but just couldn’t get anything going after midway through the 2nd quarter.
  • Eric Gordon returned tonight, but wasn’t very good. He had a number of turnovers as his ball-handling just wasn’t good enough. You should expect this to return to normal after a few games under his belt. People, it’s not HIS fault the ENTIRE team sucked tonight. Don’t be so idiotic. There’s no scapegoats here.

The Ugly

  • Brian Roberts and Greg Stiemsma are just not good enough back-ups for the point-guard and center positions. It’s not so much tonight, but the themes continue to show themselves on a regular basis. Roberts, pounds the ball into the court and slows the tempo and rhythm on offense. Additionally he is a liability on defense, but that isn’t so much the frustrating part. He’s an offensive player that, when not hitting his jumpers is a complete liability. Austin Rivers is sort of the opposite of this where he’s a liability on jumpers, but plays solid defense and can run your offense. Stiemsma meanwhile adds nothing defensively outside of the occasional block, doesn’t rebound, reduces the spacing on offense, turns the ball over and fouls… a lot. 3 turnovers, 2 fouls and a single rebound in 6 minutes of action tonight. /rant over.

Next Up: The Boston Celtics Friday night (January 3rd).

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