Observations on Kings v Pelicans

Published: November 25, 2014

Tonight you saw the true impact of Eric Gordon being out of the game.  Now, before you get all excited and say things like “Have you seen Gordon play this year?” or “We’ll really miss his 4 baskets and 1 rebound a game!” hear me out.

What we saw tonight, particularly in the fourth, was a team trying to put together new offensive sets while missing one key ingredient:  the decoy.  Gordon hasn’t been great, but he’s been a key ingredient in every non-simple pick and roll.  He’s either moving to a flare position as a threat, or he’s one of the primary guys running through a series of  screens to get a defense bending one way.  Tonight, we saw a really vanilla pick-and-roll offense as the team used Rivers, Miller, Fredette and Ryan Anderson all in unfamiliar roles.

In the fourth, in particular, the team would run a single play, and whomever ended up with the ball – that guy was shooting whether his shot was good or not.  Lots of bad jumpers resulted, when the team needed better shots.  It was the difference.

  • The Pelicans tried the Asik-Davis-Anderson line up in the fourth and it generated jack while being very, very easy to penetrate.  The guys obviously hadn’t practiced that line up a lot, and they didn’t really use it to spread the floor like you’ld expect.  Of course, a lot of that was because Tyreke was frequently barreling to the basket during that stretch.  Monty tried it, it got burned, he gave up and pulled Asik hoping for some offense, and then Cousins went off, then he tried doing offense-defense subs, and it didn’t much help either.
  • I have only recapped losses this season.  I am annoyed.  Gimme something happy to write about, guys!
  • Miller was not good.  Offensively, neither was Rivers.  Defensively, Rivers was really good when he could stay on guards, and pretty overmatched when he was forced to switch on the wing and guard Casspi.
  • Cousins kept the Pelicans in the game in the third as he got tired of battling Asik and started taking mid-range jumper after mid-range jumper.  He’s a handful, but Asik can do a really good job on him.  It was really only when Anderson was on him that Cousins started scoring.
  • 3-17 from the 3-pt line tonight.  Thing is, the Kings did a really good job defending the three, and only about 4 of those were open.  It would help if the Pelicans hit the ones that were open though.
  • Miller had one nice pass, lots of turned down shots, and major struggles defensively against Casspi and Thompson when he was on him.  Not a strong night.  Not that Salmons helped much.
  • Withey had a strong game again.  He probably deserves to get those minutes over Ajinca at this point.  He at least protects the rim.
  • Evans was finally hitting his layups tonight.  That was good to see.  He also jacked three horrible three pointers.  I’m torn on that.  How do you feel?
  • Rivers missed a streaking Davis in the third.  You could hear the crowd swelling with excitement as Davis out-sprinted Cousins towards the rim, put up his hand, and Rivers never even looked at him.  The crowd groaned audibly.  Rivers missing guys rolling to the hoop on pick and rolls was a theme tonight.
  • Jrue’s foul trouble hurt badly in the third, but he still needs to be more assertive.
  • Lastly – I want to ream the team for not getting the ball to Davis, but he wasn’t very successful in making himself available tonight.  Part of that was the team going vanilla offense and Davis not getting the ball in attacking position off the more clever plays like he usually does.  Part of it was the guards not looking for him.  Part of it was he couldn’t get open from Thompson or free himself when was single covered in the post.  Hopefully as players settle into their new roles a bit more, the offense will return to its better sets.

Next game is Friday for the first night of a back to back versus Atlanta followed by Washington on Saturday.


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