Pelicans Lose to Pelicans for Trail Blazers

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Published: December 15, 2015

The New Orleans Pelicans fall to 6-18 in the 105-101 loss in Portland. It’d be easy to say that the Trail Blazers beat them, and they certainly played a part. Lillard, McCollum, and Henderson combined for 65 points on 40 shots (that’s incredible, by the way), while the rest of the Blazers scored 40 points on 41 shots (that’s really not good, by the way). Meanwhile, the Pelicans looked to have what as become a typical Pelicans evening: close by no cigar, horrible perimeter defense, and offensive lapses that put the game close or out of reach when it could have very well been a secure win. Offensive rebounds are important to the Trail Blazers, and the Pelicans did not put extra effort into their rebounding, including conceding most of their missed shots and grabbing zero offensive rebounds of their own in the first half.

There are certainly many reasons why this team is 6-18 rather than 18-6. Injuries, along with their consequences to chemistry and conditioning, play a big role. Omer Asik’s limited minutes show him improving, if you actually watch the games, which we know many people don’t, particular those who spend all game tweeting poorly. Norris Cole is as streaky as ever, but he’s showing those good streaks at least. Holiday’s 29 minutes were among his best given the guards he was up against.

Not to overlook him, Anthony Davis led the team in points and minutes, all while getting some key baskets to put a stopper in some Portland runs.

Here are some things that do not show up in the box score: several turnovers from lazy or careless passes that led to easy Portland points, contested shots or lower percentage shots taken over better shots (perhaps by other players), poor decision-making on defense.

While the blame for some of that can go to many players here and there, Tyreke Evans was the main culprit this evening, as he has been on other evenings. Evans’ line is a good one, and I have never disputed that Evans is a very capable player. However, his line should be slightly different. That “should be” is what is missing from the box score. That “should be” reflects what the better choices would have been in key situations and before big mistakes throughout the game, not just “in crunch time” or whatever distracting term you wish to apply. Evans has got to learn that the team and Davis are simply more important to winning than he is. Then, and only then, will this team start to take off. More likely, as I’ve said for a while, he’ll be traded away as an asset.

The Pelicans’ next game is Wednesday against the Jazz in Utah.

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