First off, thanks to BenDerDonDat for the sub-title. Excellent contributions throughout the season up to this point fine sir.
The Pelicans never led tonight. Not once. The Mavericks made four three point shots in the first quarter, while New Orleans made three in the entire game. This is not to say that there were no bright spots. Eric Gordon scored an extremely efficient 27 points on just 13 shots. Anthony Davis put up another All-Star worthy stat line of 21 points, 13 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 2 steals. How the team got to that point was hilarious though.
New Orleans was last in the game with the score 49-47 with 3:15 remaining in the second quarter. Over the next 8:17 of game play, Dallas went on a 22-4 run. During this extended period of time, at no point did Monty Williams call a time out or have the advantage of a media time out thanks to a foul. In particular, the Pelicans going 4:06 to begin the third quarter before scoring set the tone for the rest of the 2nd half.
To put some focus on the hilarity of it all, take a peek at the stat line of Ajinca and Stiemsma tonight in the first half: 1 assist, 1 turnover, 0-1 from the field in 10 minutes. This is the center position for the Pelicans. Want to know why Tyreke Evans struggles to make layups? The opposing center does not have to guard whoever the Pelicans roll out there at center most nights. The commitment to 1970's-early 2000's basketball is commendable, but playing two traditional bigs certainly is not working at this point.
After continuing to struggle, New Orleans finally got Eric Gordon involved and he scored six straight points on two possessions (an And-1 and a three pointer). He was immediately benched. Some might say that Gordon had another "invisible" second half. I disagree. He had 8 points on 3-4 shooting with an assist and a turnover. Not on par with his first half, but hardly ineffective. Instead blame the Monty-ball. A point guard-centric offense where ball screen after ball screen is the norm and Gordon is consistently ignored. In the fourth with 6:06 to go, Gordon, in a 20 point game no less, performed a textbook close out on Monta Ellis which lead to a shot clock violation. Effort is not the problem. The preconceived idea of who Gordon is to Pelican fans is the problem.
Monty Williams began the fourth quarter with a tank-worthy lineup with Rivers-Morrow-Miller-Smith-Withey taking the floor. This group promptly scored on each of their first five possessions, totaling 10 points, eight of which were in the paint. Immediately Jason Smith and Darius Miller were put on the bench. The Pelicans did not score on their next three possessions, a 16 point deficit turned back into a 20 point one, and the game was functionally complete. Brian Roberts, sensing it was his time to shine, attempted six shots by himself in the last 7:24.
Stats of Note:
- New Orleans outscored Dallas 52-32 in the paint.
- Dallas outscored New Orleans 42-9 behind the arc.
- NBA teams have attempted 7 or fewer 3PT shots four times this season. New Orleans is the only team to do it twice, and they accomplished this feat in the past week (6 @ Boston).
- Tyreke Evans only played 9 minutes in the first half, did not step on the floor during the second. Reportedly, his left ankle prohibited a return to the game.
- Austin Rivers was solid today, 12 points, 4 assists, 1 turnover.