The end of the season is near, yet it seems it can't get here fast enough. The Pelicans have been reeling of late, losing to several bad teams now. Anthony Davis continues to start games but has issues finishing them on a positive note. And Monty Williams puzzling rotations will never ever ever ever cease to exist.
So, instead of delving into another hapless timeline of events against the Utah Jazz, let's jump straight to the game notes.
- Anthony Davis started but back spasms forced him to miss the entire 3rd quarter. Apparently a block of Derrick Favors and fall into the stands with around 2 minutes left before halftime, caused his back to act up again. For the third time in his last 4 games, Davis was limited due to injury. We know there isn't much risk of some long-term injury, and it's great Davis still wants to contribute, but is there really anything to gain by continuing to play a less than full-throttle Davis? At least give the face of the franchise several games off.
- Darius Miller received the start over Al-Farouq Aminu, thereby putting an end to the Unholy Trio, at least temporarily. (Of course it made a return after halftime when Davis couldn't initially go.) He hit several three's in the first half off a couple of Evan's assists, but the thing most will remember is the three point attempt with 8 seconds left on the shot clock that would have tied the game. Monty drew up a reasonable play, but it was the failure of Marvin Williams properly positioning himself, that left Miller with a much too good of a look, which unfortunately missed. Down the road, the Miller starting experiment isn't the worst; however, someone is going to have to pick up a few more rebounds.
- Monty Williams likes Greg Stiemsma for his defense and purported bulldog mentality. But another game comes and goes where he ended up a detriment overall in those areas. (And why oh why did Stiemsma come into the game when our team was down 10 with under 3 minutes left to play?) Favors had 4 points in the entire first half against a less than 100% AD. Against the Steamer in the 3rd quarter, Utah's young center went off, tallying 14 points in less than 9 minutes of action. Now it wouldn't be the first time the ire of so many failed that miserably, but on this night, and the previous two games, the Pelicans had a better option...
- Jeff Withey. In the 2nd quarter, tonight's 11th man finally saw the court with 9:24 remaining. This, when Jennifer Hale announced during the telecast the coaching staff is reportedly strictly evaluating personnel for the future. So why did a young player who has been playing rather well and will undoubtedly be here next year, have so much trouble getting off the bench? Worse, after he entered the game, Monty replaced him with Steamer not even 5 minutes later when Jeremy Evans sat down and Favors returned.
Memo to Monty: Withey can do a better job guarding any opponent, regardless of size, than Stiemsma. He doesn't have the bulk, however his athleticism can make up for some of his disadvantage. Meanwhile, Steamer offers absolutely no upside to his negatives. NONE. He fouls at insane rates because he reaches like a poor defending guard. He is awful at getting to the right places in the paint to defend, help and rebound. He consistently gets burned. UGH.
- Anthony Morrow poured in 26 points as he missed only 2 of his 11 attempts from the field. In the preview, I had alluded to the fact that if he keeps up his stellar play, the chances of him returning next season will decrease. Consider tonight's performance a noticeable uptick of the odds.
- Austin Rivers is having problems putting through the hoop for the umpteenth time. The upcoming off-season can't get here fast enough for further improving his game.
- Tyreke Evans had a lousy game: 3-11 from the field and 7 turnovers. Can't help but wonder if he's the most unhappy person with Monty and therefore our best chance to see a coaching change down the road. Directive: spend lots and lots of time with AD this off-season.
- Brian Roberts had an efficient night from the floor scoring 18 points on 11 shots. More importantly, he went 5-5 from the free throw line and, if I'm not mistaken, he only needs to get to the line just 6 more times before he can officially qualify as the NBA league leader in FT%.
- Speaking of records, the Pelicans as a team broke a franchise record:
#Pelicans 481 blocks as a team breaks franchise record for blocks in a season. Previous record was 480 in 1999-00 season.— Pelicans PR (@PelicansPR) April 5, 2014