Pelicans fight hard but fall to Celtics

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Published: April 7, 2016

The Pels showed a lot of gumption against the Celtics, and despite being down by as much as 16 at one point, had the game tied with just a minute and a half to go.  They even generated a couple decent looks to take the lead from that point but they didn’t fall and the Celtics physical style got them to the free throw line to ice the game.

The thing that will jump out at you if you look at the box score, of course, is all the turnovers.  22 to be exact.  That was pretty much the game right there – and it turned the game ugly at the start as the Pelicans really struggled to get out of the gate.  The Celtics deserve credit here, because their defense was tailored to force Pelican turnovers.  They hedged hard on every pick and roll when a big like Ajinca, Perk or Asik was out there – with the hopes that the Pelicans would reverse the ball back to the big and force the big to make a play.  That usually ended badly.  Even more, the Celtics overplayed every flare the Pels ran – keeping between the big/ball handler at the top to deny the catch.  The Pelicans tried to counter – the way you are supposed to – dart back door – but the bigs weren’t that capable of making that pass.  What could have been 4-5 layups ended up as turnovers as a result.

That gave the Celtics enough of a lead they could hold on.

Observations

  • This was the first game I saw Frazier flummoxed by a defense.  He had a hard time handling the hedging and the quick-footed help defense of Crowder and Amir Johnson.  It lead to some ugly turnovers.
  • Ennis can shoot, there is no question.  He also couldn’t resist reaching on defense all the time – and he fouled out as a result.
  • Babbitt was running the offense for large portions of this game – based on who was guarding him.  And while he wasn’t good – he wasn’t bad either.  You forget that some of these guys were the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd option of their college teams and probably still have some of those skills.
  • Dante only took one shot tonight with his feet set – instead shooting off the dribble or turning into a shot and launching it.  In related news, he shot 0-6.
  • Sullinger is used a stretch four – but his shooting makes that really tenuous.  It helped the Pels a lot in the first half of the first quarter.

Next game is back at home Friday against the Lakers.

Sacramento didn’t play and the Knicks lost – so the draft position remains the same.

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