The Warriors get their Rings and a Win on Opening Night

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Published: October 28, 2015

It’s never fun to write about these types of games. First, it’s a loss, and no one enjoys that. Second, it was just a weird game. AD was off. Kendrick Perkins was on. Ish Smith looked like he’d gelled with the team despite signing yesterday. It was just… strange.

Still, it’s hard to be too disappointed. The Pelicans didn’t have much of a shot in the first place, and once the news broke that Jrue would sit this game out, all remaining hope pretty much vanished. That left the Pelicans with 9 players in uniform. The minimum requirement is 8. Yeah, our injuries are that bad right now. The good news is Ajinca came back, and I thought he played pretty well. He was a little foul prone as usual, but he actually had the second best plus minus on the team.

The best plus minus went to Ish Smith, who really exceeded all of my expectations. He finished with a stat line of 17 points, 9 assists and 3 steals in 38 minutes. Frankly, I didn’t expect him to get more than half that many minutes, and I’m not sure he would have had it not been for Nate Robinson getting into foul trouble. He’s not the second coming, and his game is limited. Still, we clearly need someone to take those minutes.

Of course, we all know the real big story. The one that I’m so clearly trying to avoid. AD was bad. No, I mean really bad. In fact, that has to be statistically the worst he’s played as a Pelican. I’m not sure exactly what was wrong. Golden State certainly deserves credit, but it looked to me like it started from the first plays of the game. The Pelicans went to AD three times in a row for their first three plays. He went one for three, and he just looked rushed and anxious. He never really settled down.

For the rest of the game he looked frustrated and overwhelmed. He played bad defense. He didn’t rebound. He committed 5 turnovers. Oh, and he ended up shooting 4-20 from the floor. Even his free throw shooting was off!

I understand how some people could be frustrated and concerned, but every player has bad games. It just happens. Remember the Warriors were the most efficient defense and the fastest team in the league last year, and despite what some analyst might suggest, Draymond Green is a great individual defender. This just wasn’t Anthony’s night.

The best news I can give you is that we don’t have to wait long to get this one out of our heads. The Pelicans take on the Blazers tomorrow night! Oh, and they only have to play the Warriors two more times!

Observations

  • Point Guard Rotation – With Tyreke and Norris out, I was interested to see how the point guard rotation would shake out. With Jrue on a minute restriction, we needed someone or a group of someones to come in and play somewhere between 28 – 33 minutes. Ish Smith made a heck of a case for that job. His only real competition, Nate Robinson, was in foul trouble most of the night. I also though Nate struggled to get the offense going a bit.
  • Rebounding – Consider this. The Pelicans took 83 shots. Golden State took 96. They also had 2 more turnovers than the Pelicans. How did they generate all those extra shots? By winning the offensive rebounding battle by a margin of 13 (21-8) and the total rebounding battle by a margin of 23 (56-33). The Pels just have to be better on the boards.
  • Kendrick Perkins – What can I even say? At first, his buckets were coming off favorable switches and attention being drawn elsewhere, but by the end of it, he was actually making plays. He ended the night 5-5 from the floor. Despite dominating, Perk only played 16 mins. I guess Gentry doesn’t believe he can be the future. We’ll see.
  • 3 Point Shooting – For all that off season talk, the Pelicans only attempted 18 3s, which was actually below their average for last year. That’s not too surprising, though. Good defense takes away the 3, and Golden State has a very good defense. Still, the Pelicans did hit on 6 of their 18 attempts. That’s not an average anyone is happy with, but it wasn’t the biggest reason for the loss.
  • Dante Cunningham – I don’t think he had a huge impact, but his 2-3 from deep is interesting to me. If he can hit that corner three at a reasonable rate and still defend well, he’ll really help with this whole pace and space thing.
  • Ryan Anderson – I was just as surprised as all of you that it took so long for Ryno to get off the bench. He did end up with 29 minutes, but he just wasn’t as involved as I expected. He could still be finding his place in the offense, or maybe Gentry felt it was a bad match up for him. I’m not sure, but I hope it isn’t a trend that continues.
  • Curry – I’ve had three separate arguments this summer about Stephen Curry. Three different people told me he was only “pretty good” and was “overrated”. Apparently, he’s just been getting lucky and will soon “regress to the mean”. Whatever. I say the guy is incredible. That 1st quarter was something special.

Sorry, this report is coming in a little bit short, but it is very late where I am. I need some sleep. I’m also sorry if there are any typos I missed.

We will have game coverage tomorrow for the Trailblazers, and we look forward to bringing you the latest news and analysis for the Pelicans. See you guys tomorrow.

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