Pelicans Fall to Charlotte: Observations

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Published: January 7, 2015

I’ll be honest- I started writing this recap after the first 2 possessions because I thought a win was in the bag.  And when the Pelicans went up 13 points in the 3rd quarter, I smugly grinned to myself.  But then the Charlotte Hornets came storming back and my world shattered.

Gerald Henderson brought Charlotte within striking distance in the 3rd with a few easy looks and then Kemba Walker took over from there, scoring 17 points in the 2nd half of the game.

The game was there for the taking when the Pelicans went up 13 in the 3rd quarter, and they allowed the Hornets to come back by playing lax defense. A couple sharper possessions when we had the lead and we’re talking about a 15-16 point win, not a discouraging comeback.  This is the NBA- you can’t relax, ever.  14 turnovers is too many.  Jason Maxiell of the Hornets also burned us for a couple of key offensive rebounds late in the game.

Other Notes/Observations

  • Jimmer once again came in the game before Austin Rivers.  Looks like a trend.  Rivers did not play.  To be honest, Jimmer’s defense at the end hurt us.  I don’t think some miscues were “mistakes”- he just isn’t a very good defender and Charlotte, as I’ll talk about below, frequently has their guards running off of screens full speed.
  • The Pelicans got into the bonus with about 7 minutes left in the 2nd quarter, which was strange, as Charlotte had the second best defensive foul rate in the NBA entering the night.  It was also strange that they resorted to a bunch of jumpers right after they got into the bonus.
  • AD showed the turnaround J on a couple of possessions tonight, and OH MY GOD IT WAS BEAUTIFUL.  It wasn’t quite as beautiful when Cody Zeller read him and Davis awkwardly leaned in and got his shot blocked, but AD recovered and scored off the rebound
  • Jrue had a dump off to Asik in the 2nd quarter where Asik was literally wide open at the basket. Asik airballed it.  I love Asik, but this is not an isolated incident and he needs to be more productive on offense.  Cannot play 4 on 5.
  • Tyreke went for what appeared to be a 2 for 1 at the end of the 2nd quarter and wound up throwing the ball into the crowd. But it’s nice to see the idea, though I’d argue that you’d want more than 4 seconds to make a 2 for 1 worth it.
  • The Bobcats offense may be bad, but I actually enjoyed watching all the movement involved in their system. Curls, tight dribble handoffs to allow their guards/swings to get a step on their defenders and get momentum going to the rim.  Fun to watch when you don’t have anything invested in them putting up points.
  • Anthony Davis works so hard running the floor, crashing the rim, etc.. but defenses just give him so much damn attention.  Teams gift other Pelicans layups to prevent him from getting transition lobs.  Players double his rim-runs on the P/R.  Seriously, next time Davis is the screen-setter, watch how little room is there for him to crash to the rim- there’s almost always a person in between him and the rim.
  • Ryan Anderson does not have the athleticism nor the physical profile to be a great help defender, but his awareness needs to pick up in a major way.  Once or twice a game an opposing player will get a wide open layup because Anderson isn’t keeping an eye on the ball and rotating over. Davis has these lapses in concentration as well.
  • Eric Gordon had a couple of beautiful feeds to Davis: a pocket pass for a dunk in the 3rd and a whipped pass to a rolling Davis at the end of the game for an And 1.  He also made an open 3 pointer the possession after the Davis And 1.  His shot was off for most of the night but did make a few big shots/plays near the end of the game.

 

The Pelicans play the Grizzlies and then are rewarded with a very soft stretch of games.  They should have won tonight and hopefully they clean up their mistakes so they can run off a timely winning streak.

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