New Orleans Pelicans Grades: Pelicans Playoff Hopes End In Loss to Nuggets

Apr 4, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins (left) and forward Anthony Davis (right) look on from the bench before a game against the Denver Nuggets at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 4, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins (left) and forward Anthony Davis (right) look on from the bench before a game against the Denver Nuggets at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Pelicans’ playoffs hopes ended last night, as they could not overcome the Denver Nuggets on their home turf.

Dreams of a miracle run to the NBA playoffs for the New Orleans Pelicans ended last night.

The New Orleans Pelicans put up one of the best offensive performances in the franchise history. New Orleans had 75 points in the first half, which ties the franchise record. They also season high for points tonight, with 131.

However, their defense did not do them favors. While the Pelicans’ shot 51 percent from the field, they let Denver shoot 53.5 percent. While the teams went even on shooting, the Nuggets held a strong advantage on the glass. Denver finished with 15 offensive rebounds and a 50-35 edge in boards during the game.

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Still, the Pelicans would find themselves down just one point, with 18 seconds remaining. Then, disaster struck multiple times. Jrue Holiday would turn the ball over on a backcourt violation. Denver would get fouled and make one free-throw.

Jrue would then have his pass stolen, his second consecutive turnover. Denver would make another free-throw and hold on, after Holiday missed a long-range attempt to tie the game.


In the loss, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins shined once again. Davis had 41 points and four blocks on the night. Boogie would finish with 30 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists.

Danilo Gallinari led the charge for Denver, with 28 points and five rebounds.

69. Final. 134. 73. 131

C-. Tim Frazier continues to stay in the starting lineup, mostly due to a lack of a point guard that compliments Jrue Holiday’s move to the shooting guard. Frazier played just 16 minutes and put up two points and four assists. He is not providing the spark fans had hoped to see from last season. He is a good option in certain lineups. Seems clear this starting unit is not the place for him to shine.. PG. . TIM FRAZIER

B-. My gosh. It does not get more painful than that. Let’s start of with saying that Jrue had a pretty darn good game. 18 points, 13 assists and four rebounds is not a bad line. Add in the fact that before his two late-game turnovers, he had only one giveaway. This is a guy that, for most of the game, got what he wanted. He moved the offense around with ease and really made a mark. However, his defense has been taking major hits, since his move to shooting guard. He’s not making the game-changing plays we are used to seeing. His late game execution is a problem fans are clamoring about. A lot of questions come up with Jrue, especially after tonight. However, he did have a strong outing for 85 percent of this game.. SG/PG. . JRUE HOLIDAY

C+. Marksman form of Solomon Hill came out to play today. Hill made five of his seven attempts from behind the arc, accounting for all of his 15 points. However, his defense was close to non-existent. He always seems to bring one thing to the game for the Pelicans, yet has not found out how to round that out, to benefit the team overall. Sure, his shots went down and helped space the offense out. That still made him a one-dimensional factor tonight.. SF/PF. . SOLOMON HILL

A. Anthony Davis REALLY likes playing the Denver Nuggets. Davis looked in complete control on the offensive end all night. Without the proper bigs to defend him, Denver was left helpless. However, one thing stood out as a negative. Anthony only had five rebounds, in a game that he could have made a much bigger impact on the glass. He did have four blocks and seemed to make plays on the defensive end. Davis is certainly one of the last people to put blame on for this loss, which seemed more of a team defensive breakdown overall.. PF/C. . ANTHONY DAVIS

DeMarcus Cousins is so much fun to watch, when he and Davis are on the same page. Boogie almost finished with a triple-double and really showed his overall game tonight. Not only was his presence inside on both ends superb, but his passing really shined. His alley-oop dunks to Davis on the break got the crowd off their feet. He did foul out of this game, but two of those fouls came late in the game, to save clock for a possible comeback. Cousins was incredible, in a game that should have been a win for the home team.. C. . DEMARCUS COUSINS. A+

JORDAN CRAWFORD. C-. In one of the most under-discussed disappointments of this game, Jordan Crawford did not get into double-digit scoring. While the rest of the team flourished on offense, Crawford shot 4-9 from the field and 0-3 from deep for nine points. His defense is not a shining mark, for obvious reasons. When he’s not burying his looks, he can be a major liability. His team worst -15 rating on the floor is evidence of that.. SG.

B+. E’Twaun Moore got back into his rhythm tonight, against a Nuggets team that could not keep up with him. Moore finished 6-9 from the field (Nice!) for 13 points, to go with three assists and three boards. His overall effort, paired with his effectiveness attacking the basket makes him the steal of the Pelicans’ roster this season. His contract continues to look better and better, with each passing game.. SF/SG. . E'TWAUN MOORE

Dante Cunningham made one three-pointer in 19 minutes of play and did not put up another statistic in the entire game. He seemed to let the offense run through the stars, instead of looking for shots himself. It’s not a bad idea, however his lack of threat shooting makes it easier for defensive teams to double the stars inside. Cunningham should be moving more off the ball, to find space and passing lanes for shots. It’s the little adjustments that make the biggest difference.. PF/SF. . DANTE CUNNINGHAM. C

INC. Alexis Ajinca played just four minutes and got two rebounds. Not much to say, with such little time on the floor. How he has handled the situation all season is admirable, for a guy who thought he could be the starting center on this team in October.. C. . ALEXIS AJINCA

Next: New Orleans Pelicans Analysis: DeMarcus Cousins, A.K.A. Boogie is King

The New Orleans Pelicans will look for revenge Friday night in Denver. They will get a rematch with the Nuggets, as they finish the season on the road. Tip-off is on schedule for 8:00 p.m. CST.