Statistics can lie.
According to Anthony Davis' on/off numbers, the Pelicans should have barely skipped a beat. At least that's what many an advanced proponent would tell you.
Welp, today's loss showed it doesn't work so neatly. From the outset, the Pelicans never seemed to have a legitimate chance to win. Oh, they fought and a few guys did some wonderful things, but in the end, the lack of our superstar was too much to overcome. Especially with the team already missing Jrue Holiday, Ryan Anderson and Jason Smith.
The Pelicans started off the game like a team fully aware their big gun was not going to play. In the first quarter, Tyreke Evans was the only player to score more than one field goal as the team scored a mere 16 points on 5-16 from the floor (31%).
In the second quarter, the team, outside of Withey and Aminu, looked like they remained largely stuck in mud. Evans, after a 2-3 start, proceeded to miss all of his next 7 attempts from the field. The combination of Rivers-Roberts-Ajinca-Miller went a frigid 0-11. The Pels as a team finished with 35 points, tying their lowest mark for a first half.
Yep, who needs Davis.
Coming out of halftime, Jennifer Hale of Fox Sports New Orleans stated that the coaching staff was happy with the defensive effort and that the team believed the game was still very winnable.
Impressively, their play in third quarter supported this notion. Roberts got off to a fast start as he scored a quick 7 points and Rivers and Ajinca scored 4 points a piece. For the 2nd time in as many games, the Pelicans won a third quarter as the 12 point halftime deficit was cut to a workable margin of 5.
However, all hopes of a possible come from behind win vanished during the start of the final frame. The Wolves scored a quick 8 points (6 by Kevin Love) within the first two minutes and for all intents and purposes, the game was over.
Despite a spirited effort -- only allowing two additional free throw attempts and rebounds and winning the battle of the points in the paint, the team lost rather easily. The simple fact was the Pelicans bludgeoned the rim repeatedly, shooting 35% from the floor and only making a ghastly 2 of 21 from 3-point land.
Ahem, Anthony Davis. We need you.
- Al-Farouq Aminu had himself a a very nice game doing a little bit of everything. Scoring - an efficient 18 points. Rebounding - 12 boards. Defense - the unenviable task of guarding All-Star Kevin Love. If the Chief keeps playing this well, we all owe unnamed an apology for Aminu just might be a deserving inclusion in our future core.
- Tyreke Evans, after a good first quarter, was awful. He missed 10 of his final 12 shots and the low-light had to be when Ricky Rubio forced a jumpball after an Evans' rebound. Of course Minnesota won the possession.
- Brian Roberts got hot in the 3rd quarter, but as soon as the flames started, he had to be taken out of the game for what looked like was a shot to his nose.
- Greg Stiemsma corralled 12 rebounds and it was apparent he wanted to play well against his former team. However, I'm still miffed by the fact he doesn't know how to set a proper screen.
- Jeff Withey came into the game later than anyone would have expected. Monty Williams decided to go small first, before bringing in the rookie, even when the Wolves had Love and Turiaf in the post. Withey's statline doesn't stand out but 2 of his 3 blocks were quite impressive.
- Eric Gordon appeared to be on his way to good scoring game but he cooled significantly down the stretch. He finished 5-17 from the floor but at least he didn't have a single turnover.
- Hey, Monty Williams rotations were actually pretty good. Outside of not giving Withey earlier and longer minutes, there isn't much to complain about. Evans was off so go ahead and hold him to under 25 minutes. Same with Darius Miller.