Another Frustrating Loss for the Pelicans

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Published: December 1, 2015

And this one started off so well. In the end, it didn’t matter as the Pelicans dropped their 14th game this season. Tonight, they lost 113-104 to the Memphis Grizzlies.

For some perspective, here is the Pelicans scoring by quarter: 38, 27, 20, and 19. The Grizzlies, on the other hand, pulled out in front with big second and third quarters. The story of the night was Marc Gasol. In the preview, I said he was a smart player, and that he was a difficult matchup for anyone. Well, he exceed my expectations tonight. Gasol went off for a career high 38 points on 22 shots, 13 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 blocks. He was simply incredible from everywhere tonight, but he really killed us from midrange and the free throw line (16-16).

Just another night for a Pelicans fan. Anyway, here are some observations.

  • Tyreke Evans – It is good to have him back. He wasn’t perfect, but as coach Gentry said, he was pretty great considering this was his first game in 6 months. He finished with 20 points, 10 assists and 5 boards.  It is hard to ask for more than that.
  • Omer Asik – He played 5 minutes and racked up 2 fouls. He was terrible. I’m not sure what’s going on with him, but it feels like there is something wrong beyond the system changes and adjustments.
  • Alexis Ajinca – All in all, I thought Ajinca played well. He was 5-6 from the field and had a +9 in 13 minutes. Obviously, the fouling is a problem, but Gasol was drawing fouls on everyone all night. Again, he’s a tough matchup for anyone. I’d like to see us stick with starting AA for a couple of games.
  • Anthony Davis – It was a really weird night for AD. Watching the game, it didn’t really feel like he got things going. He struggled from the line and the field. But he still had his moments. That contested corner three was a great shot. Despite his apparent struggles, AD almost earned his first triple-double with 17 points, 14 boards and 9 blocks.
  • Jrue Holiday – I thought he looked better tonight with Tyreke on the floor with him. Hopefully, that continues.
  • Eric Gordon – I said before the game I really liked him coming off the bench. He played decent, but he couldn’t hit his 3s (0-4). More importantly the team as a whole seemed to struggle when he was on the floor.
  • Norris Cole – He got way more playing time than I expected. I suppose the logic was to have him out there to close the game to go fast and small, while playing some average defense. It didn’t really work out, but that doesn’t mean the logic was flawed. At any rate, I thought he was up and down. He hit a few big shots, but he also took some horrible ones.
  • Offensive Rebounding – The Pelicans only managed 9 offensive boards tonight, but I thought they game planned to hit the boards a bit harder tonight. The Grizzlies are just a good rebounding team. It’s hard to get rebounds away from them. Oh, and the Grizzlies had 13 offensive boards with 4 coming from Zach Randolph. That’s not great, and according to coach Gentry, it was probably the story of the game.
  • Ball Movement – I’d have to re-watch the game, but it felt like the Pels were so hot and cold with their ball movement tonight. I thought they started the game well and had a few spurts throughout, but overall the ball movement was stagnant tonight. I could actually hear Gentry screaming, “Move the ball!” at a couple of points, so I think he’d agree.
  • Free Throws – The Pels went 25-33. This season they’ve been slightly better than that from the line, so an average performance as a team wouldn’t have changed the outcome. Still, AD and Cole both looked rusty at times.
  • The Western Conference – It isn’t that great this year. The Suns and Timberwolves both lost tonight. That means the Pelicans are realistically a couple of good weeks away from being in the thick of the playoff race. I’m not saying those good weeks will come. I’m saying this isn’t your older brother’s Western Conference. The sky hasn’t fallen yet.

There’s a lot more to say about this one, but who wants to keep talking about a loss? The great thing about the NBA is that you don’t have to wait long until the next one. The Pelicans play again tomorrow night against Houston. Tyreke has already said he’ll play unless something happens tomorrow with his knee. I’d be a bit surprised if Jrue played again tomorrow, but that choice seems to be a game by game thing at this point.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Let us know what you think in the comments, and we will have a preview of the Houston game up tomorrow evening.

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