Pelicans Finally Defend a Little

The New Orleans Pelicans (9-19) handily defeated the struggling and shorthanded Portland Trail Blazers (11-20) at the Smoothie King Center 115-89.

The Trail Blazers were without Damian Lillard, and it affected them on a number of levels. They were unable to assist at a high rate, it affected their attacks from the perimeter, and it affected the Pelicans’ defense of Portland. Overall, Portland had what they wanted in the offensive rebound department (22 compared to 41 defensive rebounds for the Pelicans), but they ended up with a very inefficient night, scoring just 89 on 95 shots. Rudderless, the Blazers had just 16 assists; they would typically have about 24 for 95 shot attempts.

The Pelicans, conversely, were very efficient, scoring their 115 on just 85 shots. The bigger story was their defense, however. It might have been easier to defend the Blazers with one point guard tied to their bench, but the Pelicans still actually had to do the actual defending. The Trail Blazers got free throw attempts at their expected rate or a little worse, and the same is true for their three-point attempts, but they converted far less than expected. The Pelicans also limited the FG% near the rim, which has been a big issue for this team. This is one of Asik’s major roles, in fact.

I’m not trying to dismiss the offensive accomplishments by the team, or minimize the little scare Cole had. It’s just that the defense has truly been the bigger disappointment. As such, I want to highlight the accomplishment, no matter the number of asterisks people want to put on it. It’s a start.


If it’s real, do it again Christmas morning in Miami. The game is at 11 am CT (UTC -6), and is on the Pelicans Radio Network (99.5 FM locally) and ESPN. Miami will be a real test, even if they have some players who are questionable to play.

One response to “Pelicans Finally Defend a Little”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.