Moleskin Moments: Pels Lose Double Overtime Thriller to the Nuggets

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Published: March 15, 2015

The Pels didn’t attack Ty Lawson as much on defense as they did in their 99-92 victory over the Nuggets earlier this month, with Evans nor Gordon attacking him on the block tonight. The Pels gave up 64 points in the paint, despite Davis’ nine blocks. The team also had 19 turnovers that led to 27 points. This is a game that they lost.

The Pels also seemed to let the Nuggets dictate the style of the game. When Nurkic came out late in the game and the Nuggets went to a two point guard lineup, the Pelicans had an opportunity to allow Asik to eat every rebound and lock down the paint (Asik had 16 rebounds in the last meeting, which Nurkic missed.) Instead they went with Cole, who even though he is a strong defender, didn’t play much point guard, resulting in he and Cunningham mucking up some of the space on offense without protecting the paint on defense. The 64 points in the paint were a killer. The team also allowed Gallo to hide out on Cunningham, who was not an active part of the offense in either overtime, making it easier for both Faried and Gallinari to avoid picking up their sixth foul (each had five throughout the second overtime).

But the Pels preached that one loss doesn’t make or break a season after the game, with Monty saying “not everything is a tragedy.” Quincy Pondexter and Davis both also stressed that they were thinking of how many games it’s going to take, but just trying to win each one.

ESPN NBA tweeted that the Pels ‘wasted’ Davis’ game, which I’m sure people will look at it that way. But this is a young team, and they’re going to have to learn some difficult lessons. Unfortunately, these kinds of lessons have to happen when the games count. Hopefully, the Pelicans can learn the lessons that help them improve in the long-run, without giving up a chance to make the playoffs in the short-term.

Here are my Moleskin Moments:

1Q

5:18 Davis runner makes it 15-13, hard to see many guys being able to stop that shot.

Tyreke tried to kill AD on that alley-oop, resulting in a turnover and easy fast break points for Denver. Next time down, AD catches the ball 16 feet from the rim and finds Evans down low for a layup.

2:05 Alexis Ajinca has twice now thrown an outlet pass that has been intercepted by the Nuggets.

:27- How Anthony Davis is able to block a shot, then beat everyone down the court, get behind the Denver D, and finish an alley from Norris Cole that was “just a bit outside”, is incredible. Cheat Code Mode activated.

2Q

6:20 Jeff Withey giving the Pels some good minutes after Ajinca was benched. With a nice bounce pass to a cutting Dante Cunningham for a dunk, then banking in a runner off a pick and roll.

5:05 Eric Gordon has been great passing out of the pick and roll of late, but having Evans on the weak-side baseline allows the Nuggets to flood the strong-side and snuff out any neat action the team has on the opposite side of the floor.

Nuggets are getting the ball into the paint early and often with their pick and roll game. Lot of tight quarter passing as well.

Half

Points in the Paint- Nuggets 30 (15/24 shooting) Pels 22 (11/20).

Fastbreak Points- Nuggets 11 (5/6) Pels 2 (1/1).

3Q

Anthony Davis frustrating the Denver Nuggets early.

Quarter Break Pels outscore Nuggets 12-8 in the paint to take back control of the game. 9 to 2 on fastbreak points.

4Q But Ajinca is having a mano de pierda (hands of stone) game. Every ball is a loose ball when he has it (and not in a good way.)

Huge three by Evans, but offense looks disjointed, lots of contested and difficult shots. 93-92 Nugs

Nuggets decision to stick Gallo at the 4 allows Pels to put DC at the four, and bring in Norris Cole, giving the Pels another ballhandler to attack the Nuggets defense with.

Clutch AD strikes again with a runner. 99-97 Pels

Gordon receives the inbounds, with ‘Reke on the strong side, AD on the weak side baseline. Cole sets a pick on AD’s guy and AD cuts towards the ball. Faried stays on Davis, but he holds onto the ball and makes a contested mid-range jumper with 12.2 seconds to go. Gutsy.

Faried open off a pick and roll, lays one in 4.3 seconds.

Faried uses the foul to give with 2.9 seconds left. (5 fouls on Faried.) No more timeouts for the Pelicans. AD time.

OT

Without Nurkic in, no one able to contest Davis’s shots at the rim.

Pick and roll eating the Pelicans alive this game.

AD unconscious.

3 min Horrible possession where Cole dribbles for 14 seconds and takes a three. 105-104 Pels

:38 Davis drives on ‘Manimal’ and takes a pull up jumper. Misses. Cunningham hustles against three Nuggets defenders, with Will Barton fumbling the ball out of bounds. Pels ball. 107-106

Huge runner by Gordon as the shot block expires. 14.2 seconds left. Pels up 109-106

Davis and Evans spent a good amount of time talking that play over during the Nuggets time out. Davis wanted the ball to come to him, or some other action to happen in that set, it looks like.

How Barton gets open for that three is beyond me. DC who contested the shot, seems unhappy with a switch (or lack thereof). Can’t have miscommunication in an instance like that. 8.6 seconds left.

Interesting to see both teams continue to use the same lineup. While a common strategy, you have to figure fresh legs would make a world of difference here in a double OT game.

First play results in 5th foul for Gallo. Five on Faried as well.

Tough contested shot by Davis. Need to move that ball around and not settle.

3:10 Tired team. Gordon front rims a jumper, little ball movement. Slow rotations on defense. 111-109 Nugs.

Another missed jumper for the Pels, this one by AD, ball hasn’t sniffed the paint against Denver, who is playing Faried at Center.

Evans slow on the rotation, Gallo nails a three. 114-109 Nugs. Dagger?

Pels yet to sniff the paint or score a point in double OT.

1:19. Evans drives, the ball sniffs the paint, the Pels score, 114-111 Nugs.

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