New Orleans Pelicans at Washington Wizards Open Thread

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Published: November 29, 2014

The New Orleans Pelicans take on the Washington Wizards tonight in the nation’s capital city. The game broadcast starts at 6:00 pm CT and is on Fox Sports New Orleans and NBA TV. You can also catch the game of 105.3 FM locally or elsewhere on the team’s radio network.

The 9-5 Wizards have had some rest since their last game, but the now 7-7 Pelicans played last night, losing to the Hawks 100-91 in a game that was a bigger loss than it appears. The Pelicans could never overcome the runs they allows the Hawks to have in the first half: 2 to 8 in the first 3:27, and no field goals . . . 2 to 10 over the last 6:35. That’s 18-4 in just over 9 minutes. That leaves a 9-4 run for the Pelicans in the remaining time, but that clearly did not cut it. 2 points in 6 minutes is a problem, and it’s not the first time we saw such a thing.

Moreover, Jeff Teague was great last night as he capitalized on a weak perimeter and got to the rim a number of times. Of course, it was his 5th game in a row with more than 20 points. But, Beal and Wall still both play for the Wizards, and they can torch the Pelicans far more than Jeff Teague when both are playing well. The prior sentence did not put the proper emphasis on the fact that Wall and Beal are two completely different people who can each torch the Pelicans. While it is unlikely both do at least as well at Teague did last night, they will work in parallel and in series to wallop the Pelicans without mercy.

Marcin Gortat continues to play well, and he’ll occupy Asik, so the Pelicans may have to rely on that weak perimeter to hold off Beal and Wall.

If they fail on the defensive end, that leave the offense to put the Pelicans over the top. As we all know, the team can score massively, but, as noted above, they can allow runs early for which they just can not compensate for later with runs of their own. This is a recurring problem, so it will get recurring mentions.

With Anthony Davis playing well, as he did not last night, this team can win it. Take him away, as Atlanta did last night, and the Pelicans must rely on the remaining players. Of the 8 players getting at least 10 minutes against the Hawks, the scoring outputs were: 20, 20, 18, 14, 10, 9, 0, 0. The 0’s were from Rivers (0 of 8) and Fredette (0 of 2). The pair got almost equal minutes (20:38 for Rivers, 18:25 (Tulane!) for Fredette). The more I look at this, the harder it is for me to decide which is worse. In conversations this past week, I was saying that Jimmer should get the start for Gordon, and I’ve not been alone in this. Nights like that really make me question the thought, however.

The Pelicans are in a crisis, and it has little to do with Eric Gordon’s injury. The crisis has to do with a team that has some strong players on significant deals that are just not playing well together. For all of our sakes, the team better figure this out. Coach Williams has had time to work this out, and now he’s got to figure it out on the fly. If this team is still just at 0.500 or within a game or two come the start of February, it’ll be clear that flaws in this team are too deep.

While I think this team can pull out of this relative funk, I do not think it starts tonight given the recent play, the strengths of the Wizards, and Paul Pierce.

I hope I’m wrong, but I think it gets worse before it gets better.

Links

Pelicans
Wizards

Truth About It Coverage

On the Fly: Wizards

Questions

  • Will Rivers get the start again?
  • Will Davis return with a bang?
  • Which Pelicans guard has the best game tonight?

New Orleans Watch

Rasual Butler is a Wizard now, and he’s playing well in limited minutes. The Wizards also have LSU’s Garrett Temple on their roster, and he is playing well.

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