Trailing by 4 games in the loss column, the New Orleans Pelicans needed to find a way to get a victory in Houston tonight, especially with the San Antonio Spurs on tap tomorrow. It didn't happen. They literally threw the game away by committing 22 turnovers.
The Houston Rockets attempted to remove Anthony Davis from the equation by sticking Trevor Ariza on him and sending a slew of other defenders whenever he touched the ball. The strategy was an effective one. Although a number of Pelicans were able to get open looks and be effective from long range, they failed to stay over the hump. Even with the Rockets making a dismal 3-34 from behind the arc!
With their outside shot not falling, the Rockets went inside the paint -- they outscored the Pelicans by 28 points down low (58-30). That's just too great of a disparity.
Norris Cole led the way with 21 points and five other Pelicans scored in double figures. New Orleans trio of Davis, Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson finished with 39 points on 46 shot attempts. That's likely to result in a loss every single time, regardless of how poorly the opponent struggles with their jumpers.
Oh, before I forget, Dante Cunningham, who was having the game of his life from behind the arc (4-7 and 16 points) left the game due to injury.
Update: Dante Cunningham (left knee) is questionable to return.— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) March 3, 2016
Just fitting considering with the way things have gone for the Pelicans all season, right fans?
James Harden finished with 39 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals. He did his usual thing by scoring a ton of points via trips to the foul line. The Beard finished with 18 FTA, the Pelicans as a team, 13.
Yeah, the Pelicans didn't end up with too many favorable whistles, but we shouldn't blame the loss there. Poor execution and not enough touches for Anthony Davis were undoubtedly more responsible.
Stay tuned for Owen's full recap later tonight. Sadly, I think all realistic chances for the postseason, however small they may have been, evaporated completely tonight.