Pelicans Lose a Grind-It-Out Affair to the Timberwolves

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Published: January 29, 2014

The narrative about tonight could be any number of things. It could be that once Anthony Davis was ruled out the New Orleans Pelicans stood no chance against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Or it could be that the Pelicans played hard against a Wolves team which really didn’t look into the game and shot a lackluster 40.2% from the field.

But neither of those is correct. The Pelicans were completely decimated by injuries with Anthony Davis ruled out shortly before tipoff. I jokingly tweeted out that this game doesn’t matter. Except NBA players were on the court, in a Pelicans uniform and playing one out of 82 regular season game. It matters and the team treated it as such.

This team, missing two starters and two key bench players, came out and played tough. Against a standard Wolves team it wouldn’t have mattered; but with Nikola Pekovic out and Minnesota shooting poorly, the Pelicans forced the opposition into a grind-it-out win.

That’s exactly what the Pelicans should have done.

Saying they played hard doesn’t mean the team played well, though. Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans combined to go 9 for 32. As a team the Pelicans took 6 more 3-pointers than their season average but only hit 2 of them en route to an icy-as-New Orleans 9.5% from deep. Inside the arc wasn’t much better as the Pelicans shot a lowly 35.4%. Things could have gone better and a win was certainly a possibility. Things didn’t and the end result is only an 11 point loss. A strange 11 point loss.

This game could easily have been a blowout, even with Minnesota not playing well. It wasn’t, and fans should be happy about that. However, it leads to a lot of What If’s—mainly about having a fully healthy team.

And thus the season of not-good-not-bad continues on.

How are you feeling after tonight’s loss? Let us know in the comments below.

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