Observations: Boston beats Pelicans

I mentioned Sullinger and his butt in the pregame.  And it came back and haunted us all game long.

You just have to give Boston credit.  When crunch time hit, Sullinger battled Davis out of ideal post position multiple times, the Pelicans shrugged and ran screens to get Gordon and Evans something towards the basket, and the Celtics strong defensive guards hounded them into a few misses.

On the other side of the court, the Pelicans couldn’t do the same thing minus Jrue – and even when they did force Bradley and Smart into bad shots, the Celtics made them anyways.  It seems like that is always a running problem with the Pelicans.  The Pelicans can score at a solid clip at the end of games, but opponents still outscore them.  They just can’t get stops.


  • One of my keys to the game was to not allow the Celtics to get in transition because they tend to have better outcomes in those sort of games.  The Pels gave out 18 turnovers.  Doh.
  • Jrue left the game in the second with an ankle injury.  I haven’t heard anything about the seriousness of it.  Before the injury, though, Holiday was a bit of a mess in really odd spots.  He wasn’t really being hounded into stupid turnovers by Bradley or Smart – his passes were just way the hell off.  Over a two minute stretch, he lobbed an open court alley-oop to Davis that was waaaay behind, led a cutting Cunningham about two feet to far, and then threw the ball to a wide-open Gordon in the corner.  Well, to Gordon’s ankles, at least.  If his ankles were three feet out of bounds.  And he wasn’t really under pressure for any of them.  Bad start.
  • Anderson had two issues tonight: One, Boston made a point of posting him up with Tyler Zeller, Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger whenever he was out there.(not effective, effective, very effective respectively)  Two, Anderson is really good at catching the ball, getting his shoulder on a big man on the move, and muscling his way to the basket for a spin or hook.  He’s particularly good at doing it against slow-footed bigs.  Bass kept cutting it off, forcing fade aways, and when he tried it on Sullinger, he simply bounced off that immovable mass.  It left him with no effective countermoves when he wasn’t open.
  • Jae Crowder got a career high.  Maybe the Pelicans need a wing defender?
  • Boston kept subbing Olynyk in for offensive purposes.  His job was to flash to the post against Davis, get him to body up, and then retreat towards either the corner or the wing to pull him away from the middle.  He wasn’t there to score, just to keep Davis the hell away from Sullinger in the paint.
  • The Celtics tried to attack Fredette when he was in.  They were successful in places when they could use a quick ball-handler.  Smart wasn’t that, so they posted him instead, and that worked pretty well for Boston.  The good news is Fredette made offensive plays that made up for it usually.  He had a smart move on a pick and roll when Sullinger and Smart doubled him, forcing him away from the screening Davis.  Davis flared to a spot he could launch a 20-footer in response, but instead of lobbing a pass to Davis over the top which would result in a precious few seconds travel distance and probably lose any real advantage from the play, Jimmer drove a few steps,  forced Sullinger to leap the route and create a passing lane.  Davis rolled, bounce pass from Jimmer, Dunk.  Nice.
  • The Celtics ignored Dante Cunningham on defense entirely when he was in, and this time it didn’t result in a slew of offensive rebounds for the Pelicans like it did against Memphis.  Let’s hope Q-Pon can at least keep defensive a little more honest.  Dante’s guy literally gave him 7-10 feet of room to help elsewhere.
  • Eric Gordon had a strong game.  At one point I thought he was about to go into “I’m Eric Gordon!” mode and start doing silly out of control fancy dribble attacks, but he immediately drew two defenders and got the ball to Davis for a layup.  That was good.

This crap happens on the road.  Let’s hope it doesn’t happen again in two nights.

29 responses to “Observations: Boston beats Pelicans”

  1. My issue with Monty is his bench rotations. He’ll play a guy one game. Then he’ll put them in witness program. ..Case and point, Withey played tonight,for first time in awhile. He looked rusty as expected. He played well, before being benched in November.

  2. This team has no command… Players just do what they want, usually a pick n roll resulting in an iso… Monty is so frustrating… It’s like you give a ferrari to a 16 year old guy that has his license for a couple of days… Monty has to be let go when this season ends…

  3. I still feel Ryno is an integral part of our success and that we are doing him an injustice with no set plays being run, it’s always the same a pick and flare or for him t create for himself. When I compare us to the San Antonio model that Monty preaches, I cannot think of any comparison. We rarely have set plays or diversions, decoys. It’s all pretty much ok go out and do your best. Monty is soft, like charmin (Kobe reference). Not one player fears Monty… Could you imagine some of the bonehead plays flying in Pops system???? Monty needs to stop paying homage to San Antonio and start searching for Jeff Bower to save him.. where is Jeff Bower??? He hired Monty not Dell. Dell needs to have a sit down with Benson and declare his frustration because Dealer Dell cannot save this team with a player Trade.. We need a coach, we don’t need a nice guy.. Nice Guys tend to finish last unfortunately

  4. MCMaxJD Not going to talk about the Monty piece of this – but it’s not at all accurate to say there are no set plays being run for Anderson.  Almost every play he touches the ball is a set play.  They use him in the post, off curls, they run double screens for him in about four different flavors.  I’d actually say he is the player who gets the most complicated set plays called to help him catch the ball.  Gordon is probably second.

  5. Thanks for your reply Ryan . I value your opinion, and I find your podcast very entertaining. Although the intro needs to change (Darius Miller & Lance Thomas & Jason Smith haha) back to the topic. My point is comparing San Antonio Model. Monty stresses how he tries to emulate Pop, but a large percentage of the shots or plays we run seem like we end up taking a very tough shot. I’m not giving Ryno a pass he has missed some open shots but those shots have not been because of good set ups they have been from either lazy defense on transition from opponents or 50/50 balls. I may be wrong but I would truly like to see a comparison from Rynos pre injury shots set ups vs Post Injury… And btw last night when Gerald Wallace came into the game I cringed remembering the Ryno injury

  6. This players on this team are young and hasn’t figured out how to win on the road against weaker teams.  How many games on the road against weaker teams to we have to see to figure that out?
    And for all you Monty bashers. Monty didn’t commit a turnover, didn’t injure Jrue, and didn’t fail to be an offensive presence not named Davis, Gordon, or Evans.  
    These teams were tied at halftime in spite of Boston having 9 more shots.  Why? We shot much more efficiently.  When our efficiency advantage disappeared, so did the chance to win.  Missing open shots (a longer term Pelican problem) is the players’ fault.

  7. Brook lopez and D.Will for Asik and Anderson, atleast we will have a big that can make a shot 2 feet from the basket

  8. A significant number of New Orleans sports fans begin their frustration
    about any sports team they follow with the idea that some coach needs to be
    replaced.With the Pelicans, however,
    upgrading the coaching staff is way down the list of this team’s most important
    Top Pelicans Priorities in 2015:
    1.Figure out how to get out from under Eric Gordon’s
    albatross of a contract;
    2.Sign Anthony Davis to a second contract;
    3.Sign Omer Asik to another contract;
    4.Get a decent small forward to add to the
    starting lineup;
    5.Get a decent backup point guard;
    6.Figure out how to improve the in-person game attendance
    at the Smoothie King Center;
    7.Figure out how to make New Orleans a more
    attractive destination for free agents;
    8.If possible, figure out how to get Ryan Anderson
    back to his pre-injury self;
    9.Continue to work with Tyreke Evans to help
    develop his dramatically improved outside shot; and
    out how to maximize the positives for the organization that will come from
    Anthony Davis’ first appearance as a starter in the All Star Game.
    This franchise (going back to its inception as the Hornets
    in North Carolina) has never advanced further in the playoffs than its loss to
    the Spurs in game 7 of the 2nd round of the playoffs in 2008.Anyone who attended all 4 home games of that
    series should appreciate how important it is to stay grounded and understand
    the reality of what it means to be a fan of a New Orleans NBA team.Could the Pelicans coaching staff be better?Sure, but when you look at the challenges
    facing this organization, replacing coaches is definitely far from its highest
    priority.Are there better head coaches
    out there who would agree to come coach in New Orleans?That’s questionable.Unless you catch lightning in a bottle as the
    Warriors did with Steve Kerr (who outside of Oakland would’ve thought that
    would happen like it has?), trying to find a better coach than Monty Williams is
    a crapshoot.Look who’s the head coach
    now of the Lakers and the Knicks (storied, huge market, championship franchises
    that one would think would have the pick of the litter).
    I for one am one long-term fan of this team who would like
    to see the talented, hard-working and knowledgeable writers on this excellent
    site try to keep the normally intelligent and thoughtful dialogue here more
    practical and less hysterical.Please, let’s
    tamp down the incessant “fire Monty” screams that hurt my ears every time some fan
    thinks the Pelicans lost a game they could have won.Monty Williams is not going to be fired right
    now.Having a debate and discussion at
    the end of this season about whether to replace the Pelicans head coach is
    fine, but for right now, please, it’s boring and annoying.

  9. Question:
    What would the reaction around Pelican Nation be if Dell Demps goes after Tyson Chandler in the Off-season after giving up a 1st rounder for Asik..( even if it becomes a small bidding war with the MAVS)
    Is it worth the backlash to attempt to pair AD with a more complementary and athletic 5??
    My hunch is that the market for Asik (10 mill+ a year) will not be as active as they anticipate (Remember Greg Monroe’s situation)  
    We probably can get Asik back regardless, but preferably only as a plan B..

  10. Come On Pelican Your opinion, I respect that. Me on the other hand find it boring and annoying the argument to keep a coach that had enough time to start getting the best out of his players and has shown little improvement over the time… Go figure… Come the end of the season, Monty should be let go and we should go after someone else, Malone for example IMO.

    Most of the things you listed are not related to the coaching, we don’t need to do one thing at time. We can improve attendance or try to develop Tyreke’s shooting while looking for a new coach. That’s the way I see it.

  11. nolahog It is the #1 sign of IMMATURITY..
    To be allergic to prosperity and not focus on the journey ahead, to constantly hit the “reset” button after each victory against superior competition and never carry over the formula for success, to turn around and under-achieve against inferior competition and revert to the same bad habits that did NOT cost them the victory against the better teams..
    Even Monty admitted last night that he might not be the one to lead this group based on they way they respond night-in and night-out..

    Its not the plays that are the problem, it is the mindset.. an attitude adjustment is needed first and foremost..
    A hype man like a Mark Jackson or a Jeff Van Gundy who can light a fire under them (and keep it lit throughout the season) with an “us-against-the world” mentality would turn this team from an under-achieving team to an OVER-achieving team literally OVERNIGHT!!

  12. We lost a pivotal game. I hear you saying “You consider a game against Celtics pivotal!? It’s not Suns or Thunder or Mavs. It’s just the Celtics.” I know. But, it was the opening game of a potentially successful 5-game road trip. Unfortunately, it started with a critical loss.
    I don’t really follow the Celtics so This loss made me ask questions:
    What were they doing lately? They had lost 8 of their last 10 before beating us!
    Were they able to beat any other Western Conf. teams? Yes. Lakers! Timberwolves! and Kings! How does it feel to be next to Lakers and Wolves in that column? Thanks to SAC for joining us…

    So, I question this. You are playing a game, short of guards due to a recent trade and you also lose your starting PG to injury in first half. What is your weakness now? Backcourt. What is your strength then? Your frontcourt. What should you do to win the game? Exploit your strength! Keep 2 of your best frontcourt players on the court at all times. Davis-Anderson-Omer!

    I am sorry but I do not think coach did that. We started the 4th Q with Fredette-Evans-Cunningham-Anderson-Withey. Is that underestimating the Celtics or what? Monty goes deep into the frontcourt bench and finds minutes for Withey as if we were up by 20. For the record, previous two times Withey played, we were up 27 against Rockets and down 24 against Blazers when he entered the games.
    Anyway, You build some momentum enter the last Q up by 4(76-72). And you immediately lose your lead, and go down by 2 (76-78). Well, of course we were up again when AD came back into the game for Withey. But, all the minutes are so critical. We gotta ask. We could have been up by 10 and the Celts could not have enough time to build momentum and get back into the game. But, we always kept them close, we gave them hope to win and they went bonkers making the most unexpected shots to win the game.
    Well, I am sorry but it’s because our coach treated the game as if it was a 20-point game. Our coach unfortunately could not exploit our strength (frontcourt) for this game while their coach did that very well in drawing plays for Sullinger. If this was a battle of coaches it is Brad Stevens who won the battle. I am sorry but I cannot make any excuses(turnovers, misses, player mistakes, injuries, etc etc.) to explain this loss. It is our coach who should be adaptive in games and find solutions to issues before the game ends with a loss.

  13. The thing I don’t like about Monty is even when we win, I’m still scratching my head on why he’s making these decisions. There’s been a few times that wins were direct reflections of his coaching decisions but that doesn’t happen consistently. Not all loses are his fault but he just isn’t the right coach.
    If I can recall correctly. The “hornets” were making a hard push for tibbs and he chose the Bulls which made us sign monty. And now look haw the Bulls are performing compared to us.

  14. Clef504 Tibbs and Monty are both assistants to Coach K. I think that’s an important statement about Monty’s potential. However, He somehow underperforms from time to time and that becomes costly. Such as this loss to Celtics is really costly. If we miss the playoffs, I am sure we’ll miss it with only a couple of wins. We will look back and say oh we shoulda won this game, that game etc. Demps and Monty is a good team and I do not see Monty firing Monty this season no matter if we make or miss playoffs unless we go into an awful losing streak. Two interesting questions:
    1- Has anyone ever thought that Monty might need better assistants?
    2- When we call a timeout our coaching staff barely talks. I looked at other teams coaching staff and some of them are very active talking/discussing. I see minimal interaction between Monty and his assistants during games. Has anybody else noticed this. If so, what do you think?

  15. Jimmer was developing a nice pick-n-roll chemistry with Davis, getting him really great looks that turned into easy points.  Then, for no reason at all, Monty pulls him out when they were up by 6 points in the 4th.  It went downhill from there.

    Not saying Jimmer was winning the game for them, but why automatically pull him when he is clearly doing good things out there with Davis?
    Here’s the thing: I have never seen Jrue play as well with Davis all season as Jimmer has in his last couple weeks (in limited minutes).  What this team needs is to find a pass-first starting point guard who knows how to be a floor general.  We getting a taste of that with Jimmer, and it works.  Tyreke is hurting this team because he is incapable of setting up Davis, the real star, who needs to have the ball in his hands.

    I believe the Pels have their backup PG for the future: Jimmer Fredette.  He’s proven it over the past few games where he’s been getting 10 or more minutes.  He has great court vision.  Just go find an unselfish starting PG who knows how to pass and this team will be much closer to complete.

  16. wilthomas178 nolahog How does Mark Jackson even appear in people’s wish lists?  GSW is the same team as last year and they are destroying what they did last year.  That’s the mark of a coach holding a team back, not being good.

  17. MCMaxJD Agreed about the intro.  I’ve been sitting on a new one for a while, trying to make it better and failing.  I’ll get it right eventually.
    I immediately thought “He’s in to sweep the leg!” when Wallace entered the game.

  18. RafaBrazil Are you talking about replacing Monty Williams with his former Hornets assistant coach Mike Malone who was just fired last month by the Kings after coaching 106 games and compiling a .368 record in his first and only stint as a head coach?

  19. Clef504 How does Tom Thibodeau’s rejection of the Hornets’ alleged offer to become head coach in 2010 (right before the Hornets hired Monty Williams — supposedly not the team’s first choice) demonstrate that this Pelicans team can get an upgrade over Monty Williams if the team fires him.  To me, it shows the opposite:  that the best head coach candidates will choose another team to coach instead of New Orleans if given the choice.  These are the team’s other head coaches since the Hornets moved to New Orleans in 2002:  Paul Silas, Tim Floyd, Byron Scott, and Jeff Bower, all of whom were fired by New Orleans.  In retrospect, Silas was probably the best of the bunch, but he got fired after coaching the New Orleans Hornets for only one year.  What makes anyone believe this team will be successful attracting someone better than any of the 5 men who have previously coached this NBA New Orleans team?  Suddenly, the fraternity of potential NBA head coaches is going to start perceiving the Pelicans’ head coach position as a plum prize when no one has ever viewed our team that way before?  And the way to improve the perception of your team among the coaching fraternity is to fire a man who has improved the team’s record for 4 consecutive seasons, who was handpicked as an assistant for Team USA by Mike Krzyzewski, and who is loved by the Pelicans franchise player?  I don’t get it.

  20. Kempleton In response to your second question, I think there must be some confusion between what happens during a full timeout as opposed to a 20 second timeout.  During a 20 second timeout, the coaching staff does not have time to do anything other than talk to the players.  However, during full timeouts, if you watch closely, you will see that the first thing Monty Williams does is huddle — alone — with just his coaching staff, with his clipboard in hand.  Then he talks to his players.  There is no legitimate basis for criticizing the coaches based on this practice.

  21. Come On Pelican Kempleton No confusion at all. You are absolutely right. They huddle, they stand all together, but there is minimal interaction, Monty looks at his play card, maybe draw something to the clipboard, that’s it, almost no talk at all before Monty heads to the bench. Sometimes Gates say something very short or Ayers says something very short. Barely one sentence, that’s it. They have so much time to talk before Monty starts talking to his players but our coaches spend most of this time only looking at each other, and sometime even looking around. Most of the full timeouts have been like that. Check it out next time you go to a game. 
    Maybe this is Monty’s style but Assistant Coaches should not be only for practices, right?
    PS. My seats are very close to the Pelicans bench to observe what they’re doing in detail.

  22. During that time, the team had a lot of uncertainty and no ownership. Nor did we have AD. I believe that this team can recruit a better coach. And when we do, that will attract more free agents

  23. Come On Pelican RafaBrazil Yes, that Mike Malone. To me, it was totally unfair to fire him, and with a much worse team, in a much worse organization, Malone did a good job IMO. The wheels of our defense fell off the moment Malone went to GSW. He actually had nice sets involving Cousins and the shooters, plus I’m led to believe he was a hge part of Monty’s defense. Feel free to disagree with me though! Do you have another suggestion? Or you’d rather keep Monty for the years to come?

  24. Come On Pelican Clef504 Improved the record, yes, but I don’t really see an improvement in the team as a whole. It seems to me the team is improving the record year after year because AD is improving as a player and we’re getting our guys back from injuries. Plus, being in team USA or being coach of the year, whatever, doesn’t mean much. Scott was fired a couple months after being named coach of the year, even though it was another front office and ownership.

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