Short Handed Pelicans Give Valiant Effort, Lose to Hawks

Published: November 11, 2015

The Pelicans injury bug is so rampant, that even the color commentator isn’t immune. Joel Meyers had to do the broadcast by himself after David Wesley was forced out of action, and that was a perfect metaphor for this Pelicans season, and this game in particular. New Orleans had to travel to Atlanta, a 60 win team last year, without Anthony Davis, Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday, Quincy Pondexter, Kendrick Perkins, and Norris Cole. On the second night of a back-to-back no less.

And despite the odds being heavily against them (they were the NBA’s biggest underdog tonight), they battled hard all night and even had double-digit leads at different points tonight. They came out red hot from deep in the first half, going 11-18, but eventually came back to earth – going just 3-11 in the second half. As the Pelicans cooled off, the Hawks exerted their will, dominating the paint and winning the turnover battle. In time, the Pelicans ran out of gas, playing just 9 guys twenty-four hours after defeating the Mavericks in New Orleans.

Eric Gordon did his best to keep the Pelicans in the game, scoring a team high 26 points, while Ish Smith and Ryan Anderson combined to add 35 more. But eventually, sloppy ball handling and a general lack of playmakers brought the Pelicans offense to a grinding halt. On the other end, the Hawks used their size and quickness advantage to score at will in the paint. Al Horford carried the load in the first half, before Paul Milsap took over in the second half. The duo combined for 45 points and 24 rebounds, helping the Hawks overcome pedestrian nights from their perimeter players.

Over 48 minutes, the more talented team usually wins. The Pelicans played hard and their hot first half shooting kept them in it, but talent won out yet again Hopefully, the Pelicans get some of theirs back sooner, rather than later.

Notes and Observations

  • The Pelicans just have too many guys who are hesitant to take a shot. Outside of Gordon and Anderson, everybody else who played tonight is normally a 5th option in a normal lineup. Now, they are asked to be 1st or 2nd options, and/or create for other guys. For spurts they can do it, but eventually their lack of talent will catch up to them.
  • There were multiple possessions when the game was tied late in the 3rd where the Pelicans were bringing Luke Babbitt off curls for mid-range jumpers. This was the best option in their mind. Babbitt badly missed two of these looks and turned the ball over on a third.
  • Alexis Ajinca is a giant. A giant who never goes into the post. On several possessions tonight, he was covered by either Al Horford or Mike Muscala, and yet they never even gave him a chance to work down there. He got just 9 minutes and went 0-3. I have no idea what Gentry’s plans for him are.
  • It’s gonna be fun to watch Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson when they are the 3rd or 4th biggest thing the opposition is worrying about. Both guys look vastly improved, but they are having to create so much of their own offense. When AD, Tyreke, or Jrue are getting the offense off balance, and then kicking to them, they are going to be so much more efficient.
  • Ish Smith is giving everything he’s got out there, and his raw stats look fantastic (18-10-5). He pushes the ball at every opportunity, and he has some beautiful handles, but he is not respected from the outside by opposing defenses. In addition, it is so easy for opposing guards to shoot over him. A nice 5th guard, forced to play 39 minutes.
  • Toney Douglas has been a bulldog as well, and this teams irrational confidence guy. He would have created a few more turnovers tonight too if our bigs could have held onto the ball after he poked it away.
  • The defense has looked so much better the last two games. Guys seem to understand their rotations and the effort has gone way up. They are also getting their hands in passing lanes far more often. Again, they only need to be average on this side of the ball to be a dangerous team, because all indications are that this offense will be elite when healthy.
  • The Pelicans are at Toronto on Friday and at New York on Sunday. Hopefully, AD and Jrue will play in both of those games. If they do, and they keep this level of effort and energy, they can end this road trip strong.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.