Preston Ellis writes how the New Orleans Pelicans’ got KOed by the Dallas Mavericks and continue to see their playoff hopes decrease, despite 39 and 14 from Anthony Davis.
There are just 24 games left to play. Between the Rockets’ drumming on Thursday night and the ferocious Thunder up tomorrow night, the New Orleans Pelicans needed to get back on track.
They did not.
The Pels fell 96-83 to the Dallas Mavericks, behind 20 turnovers (both forced and unforced), 39 percent shooting from the field and 20 percent from three-point range. The Pels also got just six overall points from starter Hollis Thompson and reserves Reggie Williams, Dante Cunningham and Tim Frazier in a combined 68 minutes.
Anthony Davis did his part early finishing the half with 27 points and 10 rebounds. He would finish the game with 39 points and 14 boards. However, his free-throw shooting left something to be desired. Davis only just under 45 percent from the free-throw line in the game.
DeMarcus Cousins finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds.
Jrue Holiday rounded out the trio with 18 points and six assists.
The Pelicans and Boogie gave fans a lot to cheer about, when they came out clicking to a 21-11 lead. With a starting unit of Holiday/Thompson/Hill/AD/Cousins, the Pels’ capitalized. They had great help from Cousins, who did it all. He used his body defensively in the paint, knocked down both his threes and swung some sweet cross court passes to open shooters all around the court.
The highlight of the 30 point quarter was a beauty. A gorgeous overhead Boogie-to-Brow connection. Boogie, oh so tenderly, dropped the bread into the AD basket between three defenders. It converted for an easy lay in and-one.
More from Pelicans News
- How will the Pelicans round out rotation without Trey Murphy III
- Why you can’t blame Brandon Ingram for all Team USA’s failures
- New Orleans Pelicans avoid potential disaster with latest injury reports
- 3 New Orleans Pelicans whose role will increase next season
- Pelicans getting the fans involved with their upcoming festival
Then, things got real ugly. After the starting unit exited with a 21-11 lead, the depleted roster faced an uphill climb. They only scored six points on three of eleven shooting through the first six minutes of the second.
With units headed by AD/Frazier/Thompson/Cunningham/Hill and Boogie/Williams/Jrue/Frazier/Cunningham, the Pels went on a drought and found themselves down 42-36 midway through the period.
Boogie’s foul trouble didn’t help either. He would exit the second with his third foul at just over seven minutes left in the half.
But Anthony Davis would not be denied. He would lead with 15 of the Pelicans’ 19 points in the quarter. Davis used a combination of runners, floaters, fast breaks and second efforts, to bring the Pels back. New Orleans held a 49-47 lead, to end the first half.
The highlight of the quarter would be a mistimed pass from Seth Curry to Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk mistakenly trotted after the ball, anticipating a backcourt violation. Before he caught a glimpse, Davis was galloping past him for the scoop and easy score, to finish a 8-0 run.
Davis finished the half with 27 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. He would not score another basket until the 5:58 mark of the fourth quarter.
The inept offensive performance continued into the third. The frustration can be summed up by one transition, to end the third period.
After Holiday, defended by Nerlens Noel, bounced the ball off of himself, resulting in a turnover. He would add to his foolishness by fouling Harrison Barnes behind midcourt on a quarter ending Hail Mary. Barnes made all three of his free throws, to finish the quarter. New ORleans would trail 67-63 after three.
The Pels’ scored 14 in the quarter, including only eight through the 2:48 mark. After a 30-point first quarter, just 37 points through the 2nd and 3rd quarter had to be a disappointment to Alvin Gentry.
And the poor shooting did not improve in the final period. Davis missed six of his eight free throws and Williams, Cunningham, and Frazier finished with over 10 points in the negative for plus-minus.
Fans can blame the 39 percent shooting from the field, the 20 percent from deep, Jrue’s mistakes or the combined six points from Reggie Williams, Tim Frazier and Dante Cunningham.
They can also blame the Mavericks, who hounded the Pelicans to the point of 20 turnovers. Blame can be on Harrison Barnes and Dirk Nowitzki, who put up an ultra efficient 37 points combined.
But no matter which way fans point the finger, the unkind truth remains the same:
The New Orleans Pelicans’ 2017 season is running out of time.
Jarrett Jack checked in for the first time as a Pelican (formerly a Hornet), with 10:07 remaining in the second quarter. Aside from his blooper in the backcourt, he showed poise on both ends, using his hands to slow quicker point guards. He finished the half with a sweet alley-oop to A.D.
The trio of Davis, Boogie and Jrue Holiday shot all of the Pelicans’ free throws, until midway through the 4th quarter.
With tonight’s loss, the Pels’ now find themselves 3.5 games back of the Denver Nuggets. They also are now half a game behind the Dallas Mavericks for the 8th and final seed in the West.