It was that kind of night. The Pelicans kept it close throughout the night, despite missing on numerous wide open jump shots. Ryan Anderson and Anthony Morrow, both shooting above 50% from three on the season, combined to go a paltry 1-9 on the night. A defense built on creating turnovers (currently 4th in the NBA, forcing turnovers on 15.8% of opponent possessions) only caused 8 from the Mavericks. New Orleans won the game on the boards handily (+20 overall) but missed on numerous second chance opportunities.
The highlight of the night was the reaction on Twitter to Lou Amundson. It was overwhelmingly negative throughout the night. The ball bounced off his hands. He shuffled his feet. He failed to corral rebounds. Upon entering the game with 3:20 remaining in the third quarter he promptly turned the ball over by traveling. In the 9 possessions he was on the floor extending into the fourth quarter, he committed two turnovers and, worse, a 5 point lead turned into a 2 point deficit. In those 9 possessions, the Mavs scored 14 points.
*turns on Pelicans game* *sees Lou Amundson* *turns off Pelicans game*— Will (@Will_NOLA) December 5, 2013
not even kidding. amundson is #theworst— James Grayson (@jsgrayson) December 5, 2013
Lou Amundson is #TheWorst— mW (@mW_) December 5, 2013
I don't know what Aminu did to get benched. But Amundson has exceeded it.— David Fisher (@usnfish) December 5, 2013
The Pelicans would tie the game at 86 with 6:48 to go, thanks to a Jrue three point shot from roughly my front lawn on the Northshore. After some back and forth, the game was again tied at 94 with 3 minutes remaining. From that point on, the game was mostly a debacle. Dirk did Dirk things to wrap the game up, although he did miss one free throw that could have been incredibly costly. After that miss, Jason Smith immediately called a timeout, much to the dismay of Monty Williams.
The resulting play was everything you and I love about late game execution from the once-Hornets/now-Pelicans. The timeout allowed Coach Carlisle to sub out Calderon for Jae Crowder. There was a lot of dribbling, some high screens, and finally an Al-Farouq Aminu 20 foot jump shot WITH 10 SECONDS REMAINING. The Mavs got the rebound, Dirk hit free throws to expand the lead to three. Out of the next timeout, the Pelicans got an excellent look for Anderson from the top of the key to send it to overtime, but it failed to fall. That they even got so close is a testament to Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson, as the play appeared to not go according to plan thanks to the Mavs defense.
If the Pelicans would have won, the story could have been Al-Farouq Aminu playing like a man possessed. He attacked the ball throughout the game: collecting 21 rebounds, 3 steals and 16 points, including a couple highlight worthy dunks on Holiday assists. Alas, the Roberts-Morrow-Evans-Amundson-Smith lineup performed roughly as every sane NBA fan would expect -- horrendously.