New Orleans Pelicans Grades: Pelicans Fall Short to Bulls

Apr 2, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins (0) drives past Chicago Bulls guard Rajon Rondo (9) during the second half at the Smoothie King Center. The Bulls defeated the Pelicans 117-110. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins (0) drives past Chicago Bulls guard Rajon Rondo (9) during the second half at the Smoothie King Center. The Bulls defeated the Pelicans 117-110. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

Things did not go according to plan for the New Orleans Pelicans, who fell short at home to the Chicago Bulls 117-110, after a lackluster defensive performance.

The New Orleans Pelicans ended the month of March by playing some of their best basketball of the season.

Unfortunately it only feels like a matter of time before their playoff hopes are officially ended. Those chances were greatly enhanced, after the Pelicans lost to the Chicago Bulls.

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The Bulls, despite being on the second night of a back-to-back, dictated the pace of the game. New Orleans was able to stick around, due to effectiveness getting to the line and converting 33 of their 34 attempts from the stripe.

Overall, New Orleans looked lethargic on both ends and the Bulls looked like a team fighting for a playoff spot. This loss nearly guarantees that the Pelicans will be watching the playoffs from home, but there is still plenty to watch for in these final games.

Below are the grades from today’s contest.

Final. 117. 24. 110. 69

F. Tim Frazier moving to the Pelicans starting lineup has opened up the offense, but against the Bulls that was not there. Typically, Frazier makes an effort to push the ball and get into the offense early. However, the Bulls prevented him from doing that. Instead, the Pelicans were forced into a number of shots late in the shot-clock. Defensively, the Bulls took advantage of Frazier’s lack of size, by swinging the ball around the perimeter and forcing him to switch onto bigger players. Frazier had the second lowest plus-minus on the team at a -10. It was easy to see why.. PG. New Orleans Pelicans. TIM FRAZIER

B-. Jrue Holiday toed the line of aggressive and passiveness against the Bulls. Playing off the ball, he is able to pick his spots more offensively. Against the Bulls, though, he needed to be more assertive scoring the ball. Holiday’s final stat line of 17 points, five assists and one turnover are fine. However, he shot 5-12 from the field. For a player that does not really get to the line and with the offense being stagnant, the team needed him to score more. He also made a bad decision late, with the team trailing by six with under two minutes left. On a 2-on-1 situation, Holiday decided to take the layup himself but instead he was blocked. A crucial play that ultimately sealed the Pelicans fate. Defensively, Holiday was tremendous. Particularly in the 4th quarter when guarding the red-hot Jimmy Butler, as Holiday helped limit him to two points in the quarter.. G. New Orleans Pelicans. JRUE HOLIDAY

F. New Orleans Pelicans. SOLOMON HILL. D. Solomon Hill was underwhelming against the Bulls. He was active and engaged all night and did not settle for only three pointers. However, his effectiveness around the rim and from beyond the arc was not there. His defense as a whole was a little disappointing and its hard to point out an area where Solomon Hill stood out. In 37 minutes, the team needed more from him.

A-. Anthony Davis was spectacular, as usual. We’ve written this many times before, but 30 and 10 almost feel routine for him at this point. Davis, despite injuring his finger, was punishing the Bulls bigs inside. His percentage from the field is not anything to write home about, but shooting 14-15 from the line helped raise his efficiency. Those free throws were well earned, as Davis continually attacked the basket. Defensively, Davis struggled dealing with the perimeter shooting of Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic, as those guys were left wide open a number of occasions.. PF. New Orleans Pelicans. ANTHONY DAVIS

DEMARCUS COUSINS. A-. DeMarcus Cousins was dominating the Bulls bigs on the offensive side of the ball. His physicality was overwhelming the Bulls, as he along with Davis continually got to the free throw line. Cousins scored 26 points on 8-16 from the field and converted all eight of his free throw attempts. He also dominated the glass, corralling 18 rebounds. His seven turnovers and five fouls put a negative light on his numbers, but ultimately Cousins play kept the Pelicans in the game.. C. New Orleans Pelicans

New Orleans Pelicans. E'TWAUN MOORE. F. E’Twaun Moore was lackluster coming off the bench. He shot 1-6 from the field and forced a number of difficult attempts. His six points were not enough, as the Pelicans sorely lacked a 5th scoring option behind Holiday, Davis, Crawford and Cousins.. G

G. New Orleans Pelicans. JORDAN CRAWFORD. B. It is hard to criticize Jordan Crawford. All the man seems to do is put up buckets. For a team lacking off the dribble scorers, he has been a breathe of fresh air. Fans find themselves just waiting for Crawford to come back to Earth, but it hasn’t happened and the Pelicans may have stolen themselves a nice bench piece for the future.

New Orleans Pelicans. DANTE CUNNINGHAM. D. Dante Cunningham was not effective against the Bulls. He did make all three of his attempts from behind the arc, but his effort defensively was surprisingly off. This is evidenced by his team worst -13 plus-minus.. F

G . New Orleans Pelicans. QUINN COOK . N/A. Quin Cook only got 1 minute so no grade for him.

Next: Pelican Debrief Podcast with Preston Ellis and Rick Stone

The New Orleans Pelicans will look to finish their home schedule strong Tuesday night. They will be home one more time this season, as they face off with the Denver Nuggets. Tip-off is on schedule for 7:00 p.m. CST.