Observations: Boston beats Pelicans

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Published: January 12, 2015

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.

Observations.

  • 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.

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