Pelicans Fall to Grizzlies Again

Published: February 2, 2016

The New Orleans Pelicans fall to 18-29 after being defeated by the Memphis Grizzlies (29-20) in what was a close game until the end. The final score was 110-95, but the Pelicans were outscored 33-20 in the fourth quarter after leading with under 7 minutes left to play. A 2 minute stretch shortly after this featured a 10-0 Grizzlies run that effectively ended the game, as the run ended with 94 points for the Grizzlies; the Pelicans had 95 at the end of the game, which included something close to garbage time.

In the keys to the game, I focused on getting to the line, turnovers, and rebounds. The Pelicans actually ok to well in all these categories. You may question my claim about rebounds here, but that’s fine as it leads to the heart of the matter. The Pelicans went 36 of 88 from the field, missing 52 shots. Of those, the Grizzlies grabbed 37, the Pelicans 14 (there is a team rebound in there, too), which is a good showing by the Pelicans. Also, the Grizzlies only grabbed 3 of their own misses compared to 23 by the Pelicans. So while the Pelicans grabbed fewer rebounds, this hides the good job the Pelicans did on boards on a percentage basis. In other words, you can’t penalize the rebounders for the Grizzlies only missing 28 shots (2 team rebounds). Now, I’d pin the few misses on the Pelicans pretty squarely.

This, of course, is the real issue. The Grizzlies shot over 60% tonight (43/71) and had 50 points in the paint. They also shot well from 3, adding to their efficiency. Normally, the Grizzlies are about average in attempting shots close to the rim and poor at actually converting them (worst in the NBA), but that didn’t stop them from going to town on the Pelicans.

The team harped on late game 3-pointers by Carter and others, but this game was lost because of the uncharacteristically high efficiency of the Grizzlies’ shots, largely due to their bigs receiving the ball close to the basket and scoring easily. Further highlighting this: Asik, Ajinca, and Gee were the only Pelicans with a positive +/- for the game. Asik and Ajinca were also strong rebounders, it should be noted.

The Pelicans remain 4 game behind the 8th seed in 12th place. This is about where they were more than a month ago, though in a slightly better rank because some teams have just fallen apart. I said it then, before then, since then, and I’ll repeat it now: the number of games back is just not that important without other stuff in place. If you want to focus on losing, the team will be hard pressed to get something better than a 6th position in the lotto. If you want to see a real change, root for a trade.

The Pelicans travel to San Antonio to play the Spurs Wednesday night at 7 pm CT (UTC -6). The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports New Orleans and the Pelicans Radio Network, 99.5 FM locally.


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