Observations: Pelicans crush Rockets

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Published: January 3, 2015

Just one minute and 31 seconds into the second quarter, Kevin McHale had seen enough.  He pulled his starters, sent in the second unit, and only James Harden would see minutes again – and he would get only a few before the white flags went up for good.

Perhaps it was a bit premature, but it certainly felt like the Rockets weren’t interested in playing very hard.  Howard was more interested in preening and complaining, Ariza was fumbling everything, and Patrick Beverly, usually a defensive terror, put more effort into hoisting threes than hounding Jrue Holiday.  It was pretty surprising seeing the 3rd best defense in the game getting dismantled and them not digging in and trying harder.  I have a hard time imagining Chicago simply laying down.  Or Golden State.  Or Memphis.

So the Pelicans cruised, finishing with a 28-point lead.

Observations

  • Evans was sticking a lot of those contortionist layups he loves so much tonight.  In the end, he finished 10-15 for 21 points and also notched 5 assists.  Everything but one corner three was at the basket.  It was good stuff.
  • You want to see a master class on good defense, watch the first half of the Jrue v Harden.  Harden finished with 11 points on 13 shots and 5 turnovers as Jrue unleashed the full package of quick footed anticipation, physical aggression, and quick hands.  Jrue’s own offensive line wasn’t much to write home about, but then, he’s not the game’s leading scorer.  Harden is.
  • Also – Jrue blocked two three pointers tonight.  Dude is straight up beastly on that end of the floor.
  • On Davis’ first three touches, he was double teamed.  He didn’t try to force the issue and ended with only 7 points on 7 shots.  Of course, he also tossed in 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks.  With the rest of the team cooking, Davis was willing to sit back.  Good stuff.
  • The game was worth it just to watch Asik get a little revenge on Howard and the Rockets.  Asik still had buttered hands, but twice he faced up Howard and flat took him to the hoop for dunks.  I admit, I giggled a little each time.  Tee hee hee.
  • Over the last few weeks, it feels like the Pelicans are finding each other more on cuts and passing more freely.  I think I’ll need to look at some splits somewhere.  Anyone else feel like this is the case?
  • Fredette to Rivers for an alley-oop dunk.  That happened.  McNamara always wanted both of those guys to get minutes together.  So far, it’s been pretty decent.
  • Cunningham is a great energy guy who needs to play offense a foot and a half further away from the hoop.
  • Anderson was hitting stupid shots tonight.  Cold stupid shots.  When he broke off his dribble against Montiejunas, put the ball between his legs for rhythm and stepped back to drop a shot with his toes on the three point line, the Rockets should have just pulled their lineup then.
  • Maybe I’m just living in the past, but it made me pretty uncomfortable when Jason Terry entered the game, ran to the corner . . . and Evans ignored him utterly.  He joined Jrue in walling Harden off from driving, and even when Terry ran baseline to clear space for Harden, Evans pretty much ignored him.  I know that was by design, but corner threes from Jason Terry?  Of course, Harden didn’t toss him the ball either, so, I must be crazy.
  • To give you an idea of how poor and disinterested Howard was tonight – Ajinca was flat outplaying him when they were on the court tonight.

Every year there are games you just can’t win.  This was one of those for the Rockets.  Washington on Monday!  Let’s hope it happens again!

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