Pelicans Win a Few Battles, But Lose the War, Yet Again

It’s becoming almost too cliché. The Pelicans dominated for much of the first half before the opposing team went on a run and won the game rather easily. Tonight it was Anthony Davis having the monster first half while Eric Gordon struggled. The Pelicans were living at the free throw line, so that was slightly different, and they had two 4-point plays, but for the most part the script was the same.

A halftime adjustment by the opposing team completely crippled the Pelicans offense, and head scratching turnovers combined with stupid fouls doom the team. Oh, and let’s not forget the tried and true formula of neither taking or making three-point shots. It is becoming an all too familiar formula for fans of this team, and there is no reason to expect that it changes any time soon.

There were some fantastic, transcendent moments given to us by Anthony Davis. The defense played well in spurts, as did Darius Miller. But the simple truth is that this team doesn’t have the talent to beat top-tier teams. Heck, they might not have the talent to beat the low-level teams. We will find that out over the next two weeks. I don’t think anyone will be surprised if we see this same story told over and over again for the remainder of the year.

Notes and Observations

– The three-headed monster of Stiemsma-Ajinca-Withey combined for 7 points on 2-8 shooting in 38 minutes. They had 8 rebounds, which isn’t good, but it isn’t terrible. Surprisingly, just 4 fouls and zero turnovers from the trio. But the stats aren’t the whole story. They killed the team because Andrew Bogut didn’t have to cover any of them. So, he just stayed at the rim and blocked or changed every shot while swallowing up rebounds.

– Brian Roberts and Austin Rivers got 48 minutes tonight. 9 points on 3-11 shooting , but the 7:2 assist to turnover ratio wasn’t terrible. And although Curry had seven layups tonight, they both played decent defense. It was the hedging that was the problem. The bigs came out and Curry went right around them for easy layups. The point guards weren’t good. They weren’t even average. But they weren’t downright horrible. That’s a compliment!

– Eric Gordon had a terrible night from the field (3-17 overall; 0-6 from deep), but he got other guys involved early in the game – including Anthony Davis. But again, he was nowhere to be found in the second half, as a scorer or a playmaker. It will be nearly impossible for the Pelicans to win when Gordon has nights like this.

– Tyreke Evans got to the basket in the first half and was incredibly successful, but then the Warriors planted Andrew Bogut right in front of the rim and Evans couldn’t do anything but barrel his way into the paint, only to lose the ball or get his shot blocked.

– Pelicans are now 1/2 game away from having the 6th worst record in the league. If Smith, Jrue, and Ryno are shut down for a few months, the tank is real folks. Get used to it.

33 responses to “Pelicans Win a Few Battles, But Lose the War, Yet Again”

  1. Nobody but Davis and Aminu had a good game.   Our guards dragged us down big time, allowing theirs to run straight to the basket on multiple occasions.  Gordon, Rivers, Withey, Evans, and Stiemsma all missed layups or short shots.   Gordon was pathetic, resulting in ridiculously low shooting percentages for the team.    Bogut should have fouled out multiple times on drives by Davis, Aminu, and Evans late in the 4th.    We should have been fouling him with 2 minutes left, to get him out of the game.  

    Even though he missed an open dunk, I still like the way Withey played for most of his minutes.  He was boxing out on the defensive boards, something Davis and Aminu need to improve on.  Ajinca looked lost most of the night, unfortunately.

    Nobody expected us to win any of these last 3.  However, if we lose to Sacremento at home it will be a disappointment and a tank signal to the fans.   I want a win!

  2. I dont want to tank, but I do want a top 5 pick.  I know. Ive been drinking and thinking of acseason without injury too.

  3. Here’s a comparison of our center options:
    Stiemsma:  ZERO wins produced per 48 minutes.  No clue who to box out or how.  Can’t run on a fast break.  Poor to average finisher.  Rarely gets open to receive a pass in the paint.  No leaping ability.  8 fouls per 48.

    Ajinca: Average, with .1 WP48.   Exceptional height and wingspan.  Best blocker of the 3.  Shooting touch out to 15 feet, but at an average percentage.   Slowest foot speed and quickness of the 3.   Looks to receive the ball, finishes with dunks or smooth shots.   Gets lost on defense and is too slow to catch up.   Not much of a leaper.  Even more fouls than Stiemsma.

    Withey:  over TWICE average production at .242 WP48, but with smaller sample size.   Looks for his man to box out on defensive end.  Soft touch around the basket.  Does not take mid-range shots, leading to efficiency in his scoring.    Can run in transition.   Can recover after a screen.  Gets himself open along the baseline.  Not much of a leaper.  Biggest knock – No experience playing against starting centers.  Let’s get him some.

    Davis:  Best WP48 at .260.   Quick and long enough to recover from anywhere in the paint.  Range out to 18 feet.   Best leaper, best hands, and most confidence of the group.  Fastest in transition.  Respected by the officials.  Can defend on the perimeter as well as the paint.   We should keep this guy.

  4. Withey gave best showing at center. Should have played more. Bogut ignored him a few times in 1st half & got burned.
    Gordon was wy off. The kind of night you get even from a starter making 8 mil per. But of course at 15 mil nights like that should happen almost never.
    Big story – Monty and Pels can’t win close games bc they call a bunch of average plays and ignore the guy with the hot hand down the stretch. Against the Rockets it was Gordon with one fourth quarter shot. Last night Adi is in beast mode in the paint picking up buckets and or fouls on each trip and with three minutes to go and the game still within reach a freezing out

  5. Michael,
    I am disappointed you lumped the Point Guards play together.  I looks to me like a device not to praise Roberts for his play.  Here is Roberts’ stat line and Rivers’: Roberts 3-7 for 9 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 turnover; Rivers Roberts 0-4 for 0 points, 0 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 turnover.  Those watching the game know Roberts had some highlight reel, perfect placement, lob assists, and a no look pass assist.  Roberts was efficient on offense and, as you said, was solid defending a great player in Curry.

    Roberts isn’t known for being an efficient scorer, having a high assist/turnover ratio, making tough passes for assists, or playing good defense.  The only way he doesn’t get props for all of this tonight is if you lump his strong offensive play with Rivers pitiful offensive display.  
    There is a reason why Rivers only played 13 minutes tonight and Roberts was second only to AD in minutes played.  You spend a lot of time, sometimes unfairly, criticizing Roberts.  I think you need to give him praise when he earns it.

  6. NOEngineer
    I agree about Aminu.  Fans better get used to it: Aminu is a keeper, especially as this team is constructed.  Aminu is long for defense and rebounds, runs the floor well, versitile enough to play 3 and 4, and rarely misses a game.  
    I hope Aminu is here for a while.  I can easily see him getting 24-30 minutes per game, as a compliment to Anderson (they are literally yin and yang in terms of basketball skills) and as a mini-Davis to pair with Davis to defend and rebound.

  7. Papa Pelican
    Can someone ban this guy for a week or two?  He literally posts the same opinion, with no thought added, every time.  He is obviously just a flamer.

  8. You just have to accept that right now the Pelicans have a fairweather fan base. Fact is we have to deal with them until the Pels can win.

  9. We aren’t healthy right now. We have a good core group but this project was always a couple years out from playoff contention anyways.

  10. Papa Pelican Papa, You give decent responses and stuff like this. It’s getting disruptive. You need to keep up the good, leave out the bad. This is twice. I have a phd in counting to three. Please don’t make me use it.

  11. Papa Pelican
    LOL.  Free speech is something the government must give you.  Private entities, like this board, don’t have to and can cut you off whenever they see fit [without even giving you a reason].  
    Now would be a good time.

  12. Keep playing the young guys (Miller, Rivers, Whithey and Ajincia). No need to keep rolling out Steisma just so fans can change the channel. It’s looking like we’ll have to accept less to move Gordon. Let’s ride AD’s offensive game. Might as well right?

  13. Papa Pelican
    One who cares enough to capitalize American.  
    One who understands the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and doesn’t minimize them by misrepresenting that they apply here.  They exist to prevent future governments from taking our rights, not to justifying you doing what you want when you want how you want without regard for others.  The post below from Jason Calmes should have made that abundantly clear to you, and others.

  14. If the moderators would rather keep their thoughtful fans happy by eliminating annoying provocateurs, then they are within their rights to do so.   If they want to let everyone be annoyed, then that is also their right.   The internet provides annoying people the ability to cheaply distribute their spew, by starting their own site where anyone can log on and view it.    Nobody promised anyone the right to drag down a private business with annoying speech.    Stupidity and mean-spiritedness is not required to be given free publication.

    Back to basketball.

  15. I have my right to my opinon you don’t have to agree but it’s my right as an american to speak freely.

  16. I really enjoy this site and would like to put in a request. I know there have been articles on possible trades for certain players, Draft picks, future expectations, etc. Can this site do a deep dive on what the Pelicans options are concerning replacing Money Williams? Who is out there? What are our chances of getting this or that coach? Who fits best to develop Davis?
    I may be wrong, but if we tank I don’t see Monty Williams coming back for another season.

  17. 504ever,
    I read that article as well. I think it is naive to think if we tank that Tom Benson will not demand a new coach. He spent way too much money on this team to go through another year in the tank.
    I also think when firing a coach one has to ask is the grass green on the other side? With George Karl, last year was coach of the year, Hollis Thomas, Viney Del Negro, John Calipari, etc. being possible candidates I don’t see how the Pelicans front office cannot be considering making a change.
    In my heart, I just don’t want A.D. to leave. I think he will go down as one of the greatest of all time.

  18. I consider “tanking” or having a bad season if we end up in the bottom 10 of the NBA. I do believe we will receive another lottery pick next year, as I think we will finish in the bottom 5.
    Injuries are the main factor here, but not the only factor. When fully healthy I thought the Pelicans were a .500 team.
    I believe when attendance numbers begin to seriously decline, a change at head coach will become more evident.
    When reading Dell Dempsey article did you honestly think he would say anything different when asked about Monty Williams future? I don’t expect him or any other executive to publicly admit they are looking for another head coach.
    I also believe with the all star game in New Orleans this year it is disappointing to the owner and management to have a team not in contention. I’ll say again Mr Benson wants to win now and will pay to get a winner in here. The Saints are a prime example.

  19. This team needs a guy who is veteran who plays with an edge and who’s not afraid of the big shot…..which hopefully the younger guys can feed off of…….

  20. It’s all about protecting the interest of those who speak for than against which it’s unamerican if i can’t post my views or opinons on the internet it really tells us what kind of country we’ve become you can’t stop me with my opinons.

  21. Pierre24
    Where we disagree is the role of injuries.  Injuries aren’t tanking, and I don’t think any intelligent owner will scapegoat-fire a coach over an injury caused ticket sale decline.  What message would that send about accountability to current players and future coaches?

  22. 504ever Pierre24 
    You are right, tanking is not the same as being hampered by injuries.  I shouldn’t have used the word tanking.  But in 4 years Monty Williams record is:
    1.  46-36 (lost 1st round of playoffs)
    2.  21-45
    3.  27-45
    4.  15-24
    Unfortunately his tenure will be marked by injuries, but in my opinion it will also be marked by bad coaching decisions.  When fully healthy, I often looked at the minutes played each night by our “fab five”.  Our “fab five” minutes were consistently lower than other teams who had “all-star” players.  Why, when we are the youngest team in the league, are our players only playing 30-35 minutes a night?  Why when Jrue Holiday was fully healthy was Brian Roberts getting 19 minutes a night?  Why is Greg Stiesma on the court?  Why is A.D. on the bench in a tight game with only four fouls in the 4th quarter?  I could go on, but I think you get my point.  
    I would like to know if you would like the Pelicans to hire one of the coaches I mentioned earlier to replace Monty Williams?  And if no, can you explain?  I just want to make sure I am not missing something on Monty Williams that others may be seeing.


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