New Orleans Pelicans Pod: Discussing Loss to Bulls and Previewing Nuggets Double Header

Apr 2, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Denzel Valentine (45) fouls New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) during the first half at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Denzel Valentine (45) fouls New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) during the first half at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Pelicans took a tough loss to the Chicago Bulls Sunday night. Pelican Debrief’s Preston Ellis discusses the tough loss and previews the upcoming double header with the Nuggets.

Joining Preston Ellis (@PrestonEllis) to preview the New Orleans Pelicans matchup with the Denver Nuggets is Matthew Huff (@Huff_Melo7), the site expert of NuggLove. To listen to the Podcast, click the link below.

The New Orleans Pelicans suffered a disheartening loss to the Chicago Bulls tonight. The final score was 117-110, behind the superstar level play of Chicago’s Jimmy Butler.  With the season on the line and the Bulls coming off a back to back, one can’t help but wonder,

“Where was the effort?”

The Pelicans fell flat in a game that they never led.

The Bulls led by double digits in the 1st quarter behind an exorbitant rebounding advantage and overall energy output. Simply put, the Bulls wanted this one more. You would never guess the Bulls were the team playing their third game in four nights.

They put up 63 points in the first half, behind an unconscious performance from Jimmy Butler. Butler led all scorers with 39 points on 14/26 shooting. He was not alone, however. Rajon Rondo flirted with a triple double. He would finish with 10 points, nine boards and nine assists.

The Bulls’ surprise bench reserve Bobby Portis got what he wanted all night. Portis finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds on 9-15 shooting. Even backup big King Joffrey Laurvergne chipped in 15 points on 5-7 shooting.

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The game never got closer than six. The Bulls responded to everything the Pels gave them with a run of their own each time. Life was still breathing behind the Pels wings, with a 113-107 score and the ball with just over a minute remaining. However, Butler broke fans hearts with a jumper from the baseline, as he did all game. That put the deficit at eight with less than 20 seconds remaining.

This wasn’t the only bad news the Pelicans would face however. Anthony Davis jammed his finger (again) and badly sprained his ankle toward the end of the 2nd quarter. Davis would return, but was noticeably affected by the injury. He would finish with 30 points and 11 rebounds on 8-19 shooting.

A.D. was not himself, once this setback occurred.

DeMarcus Cousins played very hard in this one and put up a gargantuan dunk over Robin Lope,z en route to his 26 points and 18 rebounds. However, his seven turnovers and five personal fouls played a big factor in this one. The Bulls won the points off turnovers battle 23-14 and raced to a 32-12 advantage on fast break points.

The Pelicans didn’t shoot or defend well in this one, averaging 40 percent from the field and allowing 49 percent shooting from Chicago, which includes 50 percent from deep on 13 made baskets.

It was a frustrating affair, as you just kept waiting for the Pels to turn the lights on. Either that, or Alvin Gentry to lead a charge after a timeout. However, the charge never truly came or would see the Bulls squash it at every turn.

Jrue Holiday remains a disappointment, despite his 17 points. He shot 5-12 and was a virtual non factor. It is getting harder and harder to justify a max extension.

Tim Frazier was a letdown, with 1-6 shooting in 21 minutes. Solomon Hill was also a big disappointment in this one. He would contribute nothing across the stat line as usual, but also got absolutely abolished by Jimmy Butler.

Solo was brought in to be a stopper. If Gentry can see it just isn’t working, it makes sense to add some more offense out there. Dante Cunningham and Jordan Crawford were having success offensively tonight.

Even E’Twaun Moore enjoyed a bit more success on Butler then Solo in this one. Moore also brings ball handling and distribution to his game, which Solo does not.

It was a disappointing matchup, as the Pelicans had won 8 of the past 11. Many expected a bit more from this out of this one.

One last note, Quinn Cook got an early appearance in the first and shared nothing in his two minutes but a -7 plus minus rating.

Next: Pels Stomp Kings Behind Boogie

Next up for the Pelicans is a doubleheader against the Denver Nuggets, who continue fighting for their own playoff lives as they trail the Blazers by two as we currently stand. The Pelicans face them at home on Tuesday and in Denver on Friday.