Writing game recaps isn’t a labor of love anymore — it’s now just 100% hard labor.
After leading 96-86 through the end of three quarters, the New Orleans Pelicans gave away another one, falling by a score of 122-117 to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday evening. That marks four straight losses on the schedule, and count them: 12 defeats in the last 17 contests.
Tonight was yet another shining example that New Orleans is unable to finish a game on any kind of a positive note, with the offense devolving into every man for himself as confidence in both the system and one’s self has apparently hit an all-time low. In turn, the defense has faltered, the effort has waned and fundamentals have become an afterthought during winning time.
- Upon Tim Frazier missing a lay-up on one end, not one but two Kings beat the entire Pelicans team down the court for an easy deuce in transition.
- The Pelicans failed to score a field goal for four crucial minutes of the fourth quarter where a 103-94 lead morphed into a 108-105 deficit. During that span, they missed all eight attempts and committed three turnovers.
- Willie Cauley-Stein basically grabbed an offensive rebound with his stomach and not only did he score amid a seas of Pels but he also got an opportunity for an additional point from the free throw line because New Orleans failed to wrap up a center correctly standing next to the rim.
Everywhere you look, bad basketball was evident throughout the close of a game in which the Pelicans had led by as many as 19 points in the first quarter. After scoring 42 points in the paint in the first half, the Pelicans managed 10 of their bread and butter variety in the fourth. After shooting 15 free throws in the first 24 minutes, New Orleans wound up with five in the final 12 — and none by Anthony Davis or Jrue Holiday. After a display of 15 assists vs five turnovers in the first half, the Pelicans registered a 5:4 assist-to-turnover ratio in, yes, the fourth quarter.
The list of those responsible for the lack of execution is long. For instance, the Pelicans’ stars got whipped by the Kings top three scorers in the fourth quarter.
Top 3 scorers for NOP/SAC in tonight's 4th quarter:— Oleh Kosel (@OlehKosel) December 24, 2018
Anthony Davis: 3 PTS (1-5)
Jrue Holiday: 2 PTS (1-4)
Julius Randle: 7 PTS (3-6)
Buddy Hield: 8 PTS (3-5)
De'Aaron Fox: 9 PTS (2-5)
Bogdan Bogdanovic: 9 PTS (3-5)
Pels 3some combined for 3 FTA; Kings 3some combined for 10 FTA https://t.co/qTBpgr0VqB
The role players failed to contribute as well. Tim Frazier had the yips around the hoop all game long. Solomon Hill was swatted into yesterday at a crucial moment during the four-minute scoreless stretch and then later threw an offensive rebound right into the hands of an awaiting King. And Darius Miller and E’Twaun Moore combined for close to 20 minutes and accounted for but five points, zero rebounds and zero assists in the deciding frame.
No one, I repeat, no one stepped up for the Pelicans. Not the superstar, not his sidekick, no one. Are minutes a factor? Maybe, but it’s not like these guys didn’t play huge minutes throughout last season and enjoyed plenty of success. And as far as the argument that the opponent knows what’s coming? The all knew last year when Holiday pick-and-rolls with Davis were hugely anticipated — and this was the Kings, not some top tier defense filled with guys who have accumulated a ton of experience together.
Sorry guys — and I’m sure it’s not a newsflash to most, but the New Orleans Pelicans are clearly playing like one of the worst teams in the league. So many items cannot be checked off the list: from setting a screen properly, giving full effort, making the intelligent pass, displaying patience, rotating properly, boxing-out... I’m still at a loss at how Buddy Hield — who is awesome btw (28 points and six made threes) and I couldn’t be happier for him — just waltzed into the lane untouched for an offensive putback just before halftime.
Putting a body on an opponent to limit second chance points is a winning play!!! The entire collection of New Orleans Pelicans simply haven’t been making enough of them for around the last month or so. The walls are closing fast and hope is just a figment of even the most optimistic fan’s imagination at the moment.
Sigh, how about dem Saints?