Well, they made history today. Unfortunately, it was of the wrong variety.
The New Orleans Pelicans (6-17) suffered their worst regular season loss in franchise history, falling 130-84 to the Dallas Mavericks (16-6). The 46-point defeat eclipsed the previous record by one. New Orleans had previously recorded a 119-74 loss to the OKC Thunder back on February 23, 2013.
Following this display of awful basketball, one can confidently say that the Pelicans never had a chance of snapping their seven-game winning streak with a victory against the Mavericks today.
The Pelicans found themselves down right out of the gates, falling behind 6-0 after missing their first three shots — all jumpers. That became a central theme on the night; New Orleans made just 3 of their 32 three-point attempts (9.4%).
From @ESPNStatsInfo: Worst 3-Point FG Pct (Min. 30 3P FGA) - Single Game in NBA History— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) December 7, 2019
March 2016 - Rockets vs NOP, 8.6%, 3-35
April 2017 - Nets at CHI, 9.1%, 3-33
Today - Pelicans at DAL, 9.4%, 3-32
Feb. 2018 - Suns vs SA, 9.4%, 3-32
Simply put, knocking down just 1 of their 16 three-point attempts negated any positives derived from only two first-half turnovers. And the team’s defense was woeful throughout. Coverages were too soft, the close-outs were unacceptable, and the rotations were downright non-existent all too often.
Although the Pelicans would go on to make several runs in the first half, one could feel the Mavericks were in complete control of the game. Luka Doncic was in MVP form early again, dropping 20 points and five assists, while the rarely used Boban Maranovich did a lot of damage with 11 points and seven rebounds in nine minutes off the bench. For those keeping score of the good guys, Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick combined for 26 points to keep the Mavericks 12-point halftime lead from being significantly larger.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned on the season, the Pelicans have to be able to score consistently in most games if they want to have a chance to grab the win. Good thing they completely dropped an egg in the second half then.
The Pelicans committed five turnovers within the first three minutes out of halftime. After a timeout, Jahlil Okafor was called for setting a moving screen — another turnover. And guess what, the mistakes and bad play didn’t let up. Dallas absolutely stomped New Orleans in the third quarter, posting 40 points to just the Pelicans 14 on the scoreboard.
Game, and since New Orleans failed to play competitive basketball for the full 48, there’s no reason for me to go into any to the details witnessed in the fourth quarter.
“I didn’t think we competed,” said head coach Alvin Gentry to postgame media. “When they got separation, I didn’t think we competed. I think that’s the worst thing in the world to do, you know, the stop competing...It’s a terrible game. It’s a poorly played game, poorly coached game. All of us have to take responsibility.”
In their second straight matchup, Luka Doncic didn’t have to play a single second of the fourth quarter. He finished with a line of 26 points, nine assists and five rebounds and has now tied Michael Jordan’s league record of 18 20/5/5 games since the ABA/NBA merger. Yeah, he’s good and Dallas’ star continues to loft the Mavericks to amazing heights.
Meanwhile for the Pelicans, there is nothing positive worth mentioning from this one. Even in garbage time, there wasn’t any nice new development. New Orleans was just bad from start to finish.
“We don’t want to become the pin cushion for the NBA,” said Gentry. “And the way we’re doing it right now, that’s where we’re headed. We’ll be the pin cushion for the NBA. Everybody will come in and think they can get a win. Everybody will think at home they can get a win. And that’s the worst thing that you can be in this league.”
In seeing their losing streak now reach eight games, I think the Pelicans are already viewed as the league’s pin cushion.
They just endured their worse loss of the season.
They just suffered their worst defeat in franchise history.