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Close, but no cigar: New Orleans Pelicans lose in overtime to Memphis Grizzlies, 89-83

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In a strange role reversal, Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway and Lance Stephenson all broke out, but Anthony Davis and the rest of the starting lineup couldn’t provide much help.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans, who shot 37 percent from the field and had 22 turnovers, lost to the Memphis Grizzlies 89-83 in overtime, extending their season-opening losing streak to 5 games. This matchup with the famous “Grit and Grind” Grizzlies proved to be an ugly one outside of some great minutes in the second quarter by New Orleans’ bench unit.

Both teams shot poorly, but the Grizzlies ate more glass, winning the rebounding battle 52-43. Guys: the game tied at 75 after four quarters pretty much tells you all you need to know in this one. Maybe too many of the participants had a lot riding on either the Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Indians in Game 7 of the World Series?

Anyways, the first quarter was bad, really bad.

The Pelicans shot 29 percent and had 8 turnovers. Anthony Davis couldn’t get going - he never did, actually, finishing with 10 points (3-of-13), 7 rebounds and 5 turnovers - and Solomon Hill and Dante Cunningham became immediately unplayable. Yet, New Orleans was somehow only down 8, though, and you had to think: hey, there’s still time!

The second quarter: Redemption!

Langston Galloway, Lance Stephenson and Buddy Hield, along with a quietly effective Omer Asik, led the bench mob to some good minutes in the second quarter, giving the Pelicans the lead at the half, 48-41.

Second quarter box score NOP at MEM 11/2/16.
Second quarter box score NOP at MEM 11/2/16.

Galloway made multiple shots, a nice cut and even blocked a shot in a short period of time in the second. This strangely spaced opportunity allowed Galloway to slip by Mike Conley for an Asik-fed lay-in. Asik and assists are two words that typically don’t go together — tonight he had 2 of them. So yeah, things looked good for a stretch!

Speaking of Conley, he and his longtime teammates Marc Gasol, Tony Allen and Zach Randolph were straight up bad tonight, until, of course, crunch time. Their big four was 15-of-58... but Gasol and Conley put the game on ice late after not even playing in last night’s blowout loss to Minnesota.

The Pelicans stunk it up in the second half outside of a couple of Buddy and Galloway plays... scoring essentially came to a halt in the fourth (16-9 NOP) and nobody scored after a clutch 3-pointer by JaMychal Green (huge night: 21 points, 9-of-12, 6 rebounds) with about 1:35 left.

The Pelicans final possession consisted of Lance dribbling and waiting for the clock to go down to almost zero, generating no real movement other than a pick-and-pop with Davis, who missed a difficult three-point attempt at the buzzer. AD scored 1 point in the final 6 minutes of the fourth.

Overtime was an unmitigated disaster from beginning to end: 1-of-6, 5 fouls, 3 turnovers. The game essentially ended when Gasol made a long 3-pointer (his 7th of the year already) with 2:39 left in OT to put the Grizz up 8. That was all she wrote.

Who was redeemed?

How about Omer Asik - his play in the first half, despite his couple of fouls, was instrumental. He had 7 rebounds and 2 assists and a +15 in his first 13 minutes. Nice! He finished with 11 rebounds and had a +/- of 7, the second highest on the team behind only...

Langston Galloway!

He needs to take and make threes... so even after a bunch of misses early, Galloway kept shooting and got hot in the 2nd quarter, finishing the half with 13 points and a +17. As with the game last night, there seems to be value in the simple act of shooting - Mirza Teletovic and Tony Snell of the Bucks proved this last night. He finished the night a +17 and had 18 points (4 3s).

Last but certainly not least, Buddy Hield finally found his form from beyond the arc. He knocked down 4 of 9 and finished with 18 points, easily a new career-high. The best part? All those obvious jitters subsided and maybe they’re now gone for good.

The New Orleans Pelicans play the (very bad) Phoenix Suns Friday at home - see you at The Blender at 7 p.m.!