We here at The Bird Writes are rooting for losses. Losses improve the New Orleans Pelicans hold on the sixth spot in the lottery and thus the probability they can move into the top three in the NBA Draft Lottery. However, there are good and bad ways to go about accruing those valuable losses. Tonight was the worst possible way to #TankFlight.
Losing to the Philadelphia 76ers would be perfectly acceptable considering injuries. The Pelicans are still rolling out three players in their rotation who were in the D-League just weeks ago. New Orleans is a bad basketball team and despite recent events we should not lose sight of that objective fact. There are ways the Pelicans can lose and retain their dignity.
Ideally the Pelicans would lose tonight in a gutty, ugly game where neither team was capable of putting up points. Say an 84-78 loss that puts organized basketball back a couple decades where Isaiah Canaan gets hot in the final minutes to pull the 76ers back from a significant deficit. We could lament that the Pelicans could not pull out a win in crunch time against a team trying to avoid tying the worst record in NBA history in front of their home
bleachers crowd. More ping pong balls and dignity in tact.
The Pelicans trail by 18. We wanted an L tonight. pic.twitter.com/J5iXiBrGVU— The Bird Writes (@thebirdwrites) April 6, 2016
Nope. The Sixers instead outscored the Pelicans 67-44 in the second and third quarters to blow the game wide open. Carl Landry could not miss and made his first nine attempts consecutively including two 3-pointers. Nik Stauskas and T.J. McConnell (who?) made a living in the paint with Omer Asik benched, slicing up the Pelicans defense at will while Alexis Ajinca and Kendrick Perkins served as silent, unmoving watchmen.
As I mentioned in the preview the Pelicans new found "ball movement" and assist train came to a screeching halt. 20 assists against 17 turnovers is a particularly awful ratio. Meanwhile Philadelphia racked up 31 assists against 8 turnovers. That's an assist-to-turnover ratio that would make Chris Paul blush!
Dante Cunningham, fresh off the Villanova National Championship, led the Pelicans with 19 points and three 3-pointers. If you told me before the season Cunningham would make 50 threes this season in October I would have been a pretty excited Pelican fan. Alas.
Luke Babbitt had 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists. Tim Frazier continues to fill up the box score with 12 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, and just 1 turnover. He was also one of two Pelicans (Alexis Ajinca, +9) with a positive plus/minus tonight at +5.
Carl Landry (22 points and 9 rebounds) and Isaiah Canaan (16 points) led the way for Philadelphia.
The Pelicans will travel to Boston where they face the Celtics tomorrow evening. A loss there seems inevitable. So watch this team pull the upset.