Rockets tighten up enough in fourth to stop Pelicans

This is a little hard for me because it feels so much like last year.  I would watch games last season and just enjoy seeing different players develop and learn.  But this year the expectations were different.  Yes, there was going to be development and growth – but there was also going to be enough talent on the floor at the end of the fourth to make a game of it.  I was so ready for that.

Instead, due to injuries, I’m watching for growth again, not wins.  Sigh.

So let’s talk growth.

Anthony Davis’ offensive game is diverse.  Tonight he showed two nifty scores in the post, two long dribble drives, two catch and shoot mid-range shots off of curls, and a hard one-dribble pull up from the triple threat position.   The team got away from getting the ball to Anthony when he went down with the injury and came back, instead focusing on drives by the guards and kick outs to Anderson.  Sure, he was involved in a lot of pick and rolls, but he only got 3 touches a game I would say were legitimate plays for him to score.  With half the offensive firepower gone, he’s getting more touches, and this needs to continue even when Tyreke and Holiday come back.

The strangest part is watching Davis attack off the dribble.  He’s still learning how to finish and be effective at times, but he looks so damn awkward.  We once called Julian Wright “giraffe calf” because of the weird way his limbs seemed attached to the body and the odd angles in which they stuck out when he moved.  Davis is the ultimate giraffe calf.  He makes Julian Wright look pedestrian.  In a lot of ways.

Eric Gordon was phenomenal tonight going for 35 on 17 shots.  He did what everyone hoped for when he was signed and played some excellent hard-nose defense on Harden for a lot of the game.   He would have broken 40 but had one major issue:  for a long stretch of the second half, Davis and Smith were nailed to the bench with foul trouble.  The Rockets switched Parsons onto Gordon, and his long arms made it harder for Gordon to receive the ball, and then once the pick was set, the Rockets didn’t give a rats ass what the Pelican big man setting the pick did afterwards.  They (usually Terrence Jones) just stayed on Gordon, forcing him either away from the basket, or making him give up the ball.  Ajinca and Stiemsma are just not threats.  The Rockets decided to not worry about them.

Other Observations

  • On the first Pelicans play of the game, Monty ran a post up for Anthony Davis with the primary intent of getting Eric Gordon the ball off a cut or flare.  It worked well, but even better, four plays later when Davis posted up, the Rockets assumed it was the same play, and Davis spun and took it to the hole.  Good stuff.
  • Monty also ran four plays tonight that I saw that ended with Anthony Davis setting up for a corner three.  The ball never made its way to him, but I found that fascinating.
  • I know Roberts isn’t everyone’s favorite, but I liked what he was doing defensively on Lin tonight.
  • The Pelicans committed 34 fouls.  It’s so damn hard to win when doing that.  I remember six that I thought were just dumb.  Jason Smith can be so over-eager at times and just overextends.  Ajinca was the worst offender though.
  • Speaking of Jason Smith, HOLY CRAP that block in the first quarter on Parsons.
  • The Pelicans had two open looks at the end to tie the game – one on a wide open 17-footer from Smith and one a mostly open three pointer off a curl for Darius Miller.  Both plays were executed, the shots were just not knocked down.  So close.  Do you find 3 point losses like this one worse than beatdowns?
  • Miller played 30 minutes tonight and managed 2 points on 1-6 shooting.  His defense swung wildly from good to awful – like you’d expect any young NBA player.  I still love his passing, though.  The guy just has a high basketball IQ.
  • Rivers played solid defense, looks more comfortable out there, but still can’t hit a free throw and lacks touch on drives.  He’s got one of the prettiest crossovers in the league though.
  • You want to know why Miller played 30 minutes?  Morrow was out there for five and accomplished nothing but two fouls.  Aminu played okay, but had three really lazy passes.  After the third one, he didn’t re-enter the game.

Next game is Saturday against the Warriors.  Tyreke hopes to play.

24 responses to “Rockets tighten up enough in fourth to stop Pelicans”

  1. although we lose…as long as AD, AR and Miller are developing and gaining more experience and building confidence i take that….

  2. I watched Gordon in that 4th quarter.  He spent most of his time with 1 foot in the paint, standing still.  If he is there, there can be no spacing.   He was the MVP of quarters 1 through 3, but did not get open for many shots in the 4th, and stopped playing the agressive defense that he did earlier.  He also had 3 or 4 turnovers where he went brain dead.    Aminu had a few of those too, but he is not expected to be a ball handler or distributor.    Miller had a couple of bad ones too.   It’s a shame we aren’t talking about 40+ points for Gordon and a Pels victory…..

    Stiemsma had his best game in quite a while, but he was still -3.    Smith was -23!!!!   He really is not effective, and needs to play less.  Nice guy, but not getting it done,    Ajinca was +15, Rivers +13, and Roberts -15.   Withey managed to go a whole minute without fouling.    Our point guards were 6 of 19. 

    I was pleased with the toughness we showed, but could feel the game slipping away the whole 4th quarter.  It’s too bad we can’t enjoy a lead anymore, knowing it will be blown.

    We left Davis on the bench with 4 fouls, and that’s how he ended the game.  It sure would have been nice to give him 5 more minutes of burn in place of Smith or Stiemsma and use up those 2 fouls.

  3. Liked what I saw on defense. Tired Houston legs probably helped, but a good, smart effort overall. Now if the bigs would stop fouling all the time we might see some wins.
    Miller looks to be a solid bench guy. He made mistakes, but he made so many smart plays too. Loved watching him yell at Withey on defensive positioning.
    AD’s post game has surprised me. I didn’t think he was this far along. To be fair, his posts were coming v weaker defenders (Parsons, Montiejunas, and Casspi I believe). Spot on about his drives. His quickness and length shock defenders and bail him out of tough shots with foul calls. It works, but he needs more polish.
    I just don’t see it with Rivers at all. His ceiling looks like a rotation player. His defense seems to get more praise than it deserves- and no I don’t care about Harden breaking his ankles. He isnt a pg. He can get to the paint but he will likely never be a good finisher and he doesn’t have good vision. I hope he continues to improve, he is better this year, but he is still a very flawed player

  4. NOEngineer Agree 100% on letting Anthony Davis play with 4 fouls.  
    Can’t agree with your point about Smith.  In an ideal world, he’d play 20 minutes as an energy backup, but with Anderson out, he’s the best option the Pelicans have.  Stiemsma fouled out and Ajinca had 5 fouls in 12 minutes.  Against backups.

  5. champsworld504On one hand, I agree with you, but I think in reality the actual impact on the court will be nil.  There’s just not much difference between Roberts and Rivers at this point.  As long as Rivers is getting 20 minutes to learn out there, I’m good.

  6. I hate sitting in the arena knowing ‘it’ is going to happen.  Does it have to be everytime!?!?!
    The Rockets were awful last night.  Awful.  And probably gave a C- effort (4 made 3’s and 60% from the line).
    At the end, Houston got the ball to their best player and Harden made the shot.  The Pels got the ball to………….Jason Smith and Darius Miller.  And there is your ball game.

  7. Pels were up 99-92 with 3 minutes left.  The final was 100-103.  I don’t know who is at fault.  I just know it’s a trend.

  8. ryanschwan champsworld504 that’s all I want. Give him some confidence, I believe Rivers has much more upside than Roberts

  9. bradlaborde Rockets didn’t take the Pelicans very seriously…it happens when good teams see that you have 3 key players out…so they tend to drop their guard…happens when you play 82 games….spurt time won it for the Rockets….Pels couldn’t maintain the gruffness to keep the lead and win it…

  10. Papa Pelican Is it possible to bar this guy from posting? Just a constant stream of negativity with no effort to provide evidence.
    At least most people, regardless of whether I happen to agree with them, make some attempt to justify their position.

  11. I just being real can we stop with the support this clown for a coach a get someone who wants to build a team into a winner and not mediocre.Not everyone from a coaching tree become a success.

  12. Papa Pelican Papa, you do really need to learn to make points better. This is not a contest to see who can make the cutest comment. We are talking about the team. When you make comments that invite no response or any real data . . . just a loudened version of an opinion or the obvious . . . it adds nothing.
    If you just want to scream out emotionally, there are places where that fits in quite well. If you also want to make some valid points in the context of a discussion, please do so.
    That said, readers, if you can’t turn this guy down, turn yourselves up. Drown out the discussion that does not befit this site with discussion that does.

  13. @xman20002000 define “great upside.”
    He’s better this year, but he is not a good or even average player. He can continue to grow but I don’t see any thing that points to + NBA player.
    To me, Rivers looks like a ceiling of Jerryd Bayless or Mario Chalmers. I can see him being a solid player on a good team if becomes a better shooter, defender, and learns to play smarter with the ball. He is not good enough to play the role he had at Duke at this level.
    I hope he makes it- hell, i hope I am dead wrong.

  14. What a fanbase where if i say something about the team the mooks on here have to wuss about it.Come on im tired of this it’s a young team this and that.The direction of this team need to be with someone who believe in winning not finding ways to lose with or without injuries.The Pels under Monty Williams has been an accident ever since sad it may seems but Byron Scoot been best coach the Hornets/Pels ever had even in winning percentage.In Monty’s first season he inherit a good team then the following season with the uncertian future of the franchise and CP3 wanting out the team rebuilds now in his fourth season and with a roster that could been up for an 7th and 8th seed.Freak injuries and losing games that could have been won piro to those injuries really tell us he’s the blame.Giving the ball to Davis late in the 4th the other team knows who they’re going to give the ball to.For Petes sake give to Holiday or Gordon.It’s time for a change like it or not but Monty is not the right choice for the future.

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