The New Orleans Pelicans struggled mightily on Sunday against the Houston Rockets, falling by a final score of 113-90, and the game was reminiscent of Wednesday’s defeat to the Orlando Magic. From the opening tip, it was clear New Orleans was in store for another long night without much to cheer for.
James Harden: 9 points— Will Guillory (@WillGuillory) March 24, 2019
Pelicans: 7 points
Not a great start so far for New Orleans.
The Pelicans endured a rough night from the field, shooting 41 percent overall while the the Rockets field goal percentage sparkled at 49%. Frank Jackson led the Pelicans in scoring with 19 and Anthony Davis had a double double (12/10) in his return to the court.
As for the Rockets, James Harden led Houston with 28 points on what could be called an off night in comparison to the scoring outputs he’s put together. However, this meant that Houston was quite balanced on the stat sheet, with six players contributing double-digit scoring outputs.
The #Rockets win 113-90, officially clinching a playoff spot.— Space City Scoop (@SpaceCity_Scoop) March 25, 2019
James Harden led all scorers with 28 points.
Eric Gordon added 18 points.
Chris Paul had 10 points, 13 assists and 5 steals.
With that out of the way, let’s get right into a few game observations.
The Defense against James Harden
According to basketballreference.com, no team frustrated James Harden more than the Pelicans before tonight’s matchup. New Orleans had held Harden to 37.5 percent shooting from the field in their first three meetings — the worst percentage he’s shot versus any team. While Harden shot much better overall on Sunday (10-19), consider the week he’s had before you judge.
Holding an NBA player to 28 points shouldn’t cause a mass celebration of any sort, but when the discussion is involving James Harden, you take what you can get no matter how formidable you are.
After nights of 57 and 61 points, the Pelicans rough defense of late in the absence of Jrue Holiday offered Harden another opportunity for a magical night. However, while New Orleans struggled in various areas, they had a few bright spots when guarding the reigning MVP. Hey, that’s something at this stage of the season!
James Harden had 57 and 61 pts in his previous two games (not a misprint) but #Pelicans have had some very good defensive possessions against him early, stripping the ball and drawing a charge, at least making him work a lot— Jim Eichenhofer (@Jim_Eichenhofer) March 24, 2019
Kenrich picking up James Harden 85 feet from the basket to open 3Q. Harden 21 pts on 8/16 shooting, 5/10 treys. #Pelicans trying to put together a run, but Rockets keep swinging the ball for open treys. Hou 68-51 early 3Q— Jim Eichenhofer (@Jim_Eichenhofer) March 25, 2019
Frank Jackson’s March Madness continues
Frank Jackson’s March has easily been his best month as a professional. While already eclipsing the highest minute total for his career in a month, Jackson is also posting a career high in three-point percentage (min. 20 attempts).
Since he started shooting a relatively large number of treys in January, Frank Jackson has had an up-and-down stretch but his best month has been March. He's now 20/53 after sinking an early three (38%). Hou 18-13 in low-scoring opening 9 mins— Jim Eichenhofer (@Jim_Eichenhofer) March 24, 2019
Jackson poured in three more long-range baskets on Sunday and also added a career-high six assists. Whatever we may think about the viewing experiences of the rest of these games, this continues to be a really important time for Jackson as he looks to add more knowledge and confidence under his belt after missing the entire 2017-18.
Christian Wood’s first action
Christian Wood made his debut Sunday in garbage time, totaling eight minutes and posting a line of seven points and one three/assist/steal. He wasted no time asserting himself as he hoisted up five shots.
Christian Wood making his #Pelicans debut late 3Q. He was averaging 29 pts in G League— Jim Eichenhofer (@Jim_Eichenhofer) March 25, 2019
Christian Wood sighting. Drains a 3. I really like him as prospect.— Shamit Dua (@FearTheBrown) March 25, 2019
There’s a lot to like about the former Milwaukee Bucks big man. Unlike his stay with the Bucks, he should have several meaningful chances to prove himself in New Orleans. He’ll for sure be a player to keep an eye on as we head towards the end of the regular season and then in summer league action.
Up Next: 3/26 Atlanta Hawks
In a couple of days, the Pelicans will welcome Trae Young and John Collins into town as the young Hawks pay New Orleans a visit. Can the Pelicans get some home court revenge after the Hawks’ victory in Atlanta two weeks ago? There’s only one way to find out.