Pelicans Fall to Grizzlies in Overtime Sort Of

Published: March 12, 2016

The New Orleans Pelicans (24-40) played and ultimately lost a fun one against the Memphis Grizzlies (39-26). Both teams were without key players, and the game was sloppy. The Pelicans lost an early lead, overcame a decent deficit, could not avoid overtime, then just fell victim to a combination of luck, defense, and some Grizzlies players who were having career nights. The game was tied at 99 before the oddly high-scoring overtime, with the final score being 121-114.

Well, let’s see what I said in the pregame:

JaMychal Green can go off. Stephenson can steal the keys and run the Pelicans over. Vince. I’ve stopped trying to guess what can go wrong, and I’ve stopped discussing wins and losses.

Green had 21 points on 15 shots, 10 rebounds, and let the game in +/- at 19. Vince was killing it playing Point Carter, until he suffered a leg injury and did not return. Stephenson did in fact steal the key and run the Pelicans over with his career-high 33 points on 20 shots and swagger. He also had Barnes with him who notched his first career triple-double, which I of course did not mention. I’ll take than lump, because lump is always the answer.

What else was there . . . hmmmm?


Tonight, what I want to see is the Pelicans exploiting the mismatches they’ll have in the paint if Randolph misses. Just go at them. Win or lose, sink or swim, just die on that hill.

The Pelicans started the game looking for 3’s and defending ok in the paint, before taking it to the basket more on offense. After just under 9 minutes into the first, the Pelicans had a 21-14 lead, and Asik sat down. Memphis answered with a 14-4 run (at least, I didn’t go back to check just to pile on), and the game was never highly in the Pelicans’ favor again. Asik had 5 rebounds and no points in 13 minutes total, but he did lead the team with a +8. Stats aside, the team worked with Asik in the lineup, though better in his first run than in his second, admittedly. I get what Gentry was trying to do playing Asik over Anderson, since he does this quite often, and I’m not going to say it didn’t work just because of the loss, as the game was close and Anderson was a big contributor. I just wish they had a way to use their size advantage when they actually have it.

Cunningham had a great game, too. His 17 points may not look like much, but that’s a high for him. He also score efficiently, filled the box out, and was hustling. For example, get fought for a defensive rebound, go the ball to Douglas around midcourt but was jammed up quickly, then got the pass for Douglas as he was heading to the basket. 2 points. It’s stuff like this that the wise Pelicans fan is filing away for later discussions of who has positive value on this team.

We did get some nice minutes of Jrue and Davis together, but it was not really a show. Anderson added 24 points to Davis’ 25 and Holiday’s 34. Holiday also had 10 assists in his 41 minutes of play, a season high, and the second in as many games. I’m glad to see Jrue doing what he’s capable of doing. It’ll be even more impressive when the defense has to consistently worry about other threats.

Speaking of defense, the team botched some easy stuff tonight. Erman was having minor conniption fits after a couple plays in particular. I get it. Botched plays happen all the time, even to good defenses, but in this case, it’s just too much. I’m not sure how he’s even gotten them to this point given the depth chart volatility this season. It’s just a bad situation regardless of what anyone things of his or the team’s performance.

The Pelicans play the Bucks Saturday at 6:30 pm CT (UTC -6) in Milwaukee. The game will be on Fox Sports New Orleans and the Pelicans Radio Network, 99.5 FM locally. This is clearly a road game on the end of a back-to-back for the Pelicans. The Bucks have been off since playing Wednesday.

See you then.

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