New Orleans Pelicans Grades: Pelicans Fail To Overcome Warriors

Dec 13, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) shoots over New Orleans Pelicans center Alexis Ajinca (42) during the first quarter of a game at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 13, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) shoots over New Orleans Pelicans center Alexis Ajinca (42) during the first quarter of a game at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Pelicans could not pull off the upset against the NBA’s best regular season team in the Golden State Warriors Saturday night.

Tonight was not much fun for fans of the New Orleans Pelicans.

While the Pelicans trailed just eight points at halftime, they never held a real advantage all game. Golden State looked like the superior team all night. The Warriors took an advantage in almost every category and ran away with it by the second half.

Tonight was a game that three key players for the Pelicans did not play. Anthony DavisDeMarcus Cousins and E’Twaun Moore sat this game out for New Orleans. While the Pelicans were able to put up over 100 points, their defense fell flat against a lethal Warriors offense.

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The only injury for Golden State was Stephen Curry. Even without him, their offense still had the precision to put up 121 points on New Orleans. They also won the rebounding battle by 19, had eight more offensive rebounds and 13 more assists than the Pels.

The leading scorer for the Pelicans would end up being Quinn Cook. Cook put up 22 points on 13 shots, to go with three assists. Jordan Crawford would be right behind him, with 21 points on 16 shots.

Kevin Durant, returning from injury, had a great game for the Warriors. Durant put up 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.

123. 41. 101. 69. Final

C. Tim Frazier saw his return to the starting lineup tonight. However, he did not impress. Frazier would score eights points on 2-3 shooting and going 3-6 from the free-throw line. He would also add three assists, yet turned the ball over two times and committed four fouls. His defense was not good. The offense did seem aggressive and put the Warriors in a bit of a hole early. Still, his impact on the game did not give the Pelicans an advantage.. PG. . TIM FRAZIER

Jrue Holiday had a tough game. In a game already tough on the Pelicans, he had all kinds of struggles. Jrue put up 10 points on 15 shots, to go with 10 assists and six rebounds. The stats are there for Holiday, who likely felt a burden on him, with the stars missing. However, his team worst -28 rating is not a good look. While he gave it his all on defense and made it tougher on the Warriors guards, this game was not one of his strongest.. SG/PG. . JRUE HOLIDAY. C+

D. Solomon Hill did not make a field goal in 26 minutes. His matchup was a tougher one, going against Kevin Durant. However, this is what players sign up for as a starter in the NBA. Solo did not have the answers tonight and has not had them all season. The disappointment in his worth after the new contract is getting Omer Asik-level.. SF/PF. . SOLOMON HILL

DANTE CUNNINGHAM. C+. Dante Cunningham is not going to be a prolific scorer at the NBA level. He will do a fill-in worthy job, give great effort on the floor and work on the glass. Six points, five rebounds and an offensive rebound is around the expectation for him every night. He’s not going to do much to impact the game, as his defense and rebounds was about all he could do versus the Warriors.. PF/SF.

Alexis Ajinca is on a mission to prove he’s still an NBA caliber center, even if the league is drifting away from his prototype. Ajinca put up 17 points on 14 shots and six rebounds in his 29 minutes. He is not a strong defender, as his five fouls showed. His box-out game is not the strongest. He’s a scoring machine with defensive liabilities. That’s his game. It’s not a great fit on this Pelicans team, but it’s an NBA fit somewhere.. C. . ALEXIS AJINCA. B-

B. Quinn Cook looked like an NBA-level player tonight. Cook put up 22 points on just 13 shots against a very sound Warriors defense, even on the bench unit. He was a one-man wrecking crew. However, his defense got greatly exposed once again. He’s not going to do much to stop the other guys from scoring, but he sure did his best to keep up with the lightning quick Warriors pace tonight.. PG. . QUINN COOK

C+. Jordan Crawford did put up 21 points, which is around the exact expectation of him nightly. In 30 minutes, he did not really bring much of anything else than his shooting. The Pelicans really needed that shooting when they signed him and they will still need it going forward. However, he can not be more than a quick jolt of offensive energy, to be successful at the NBA level.. SG. . JORDAN CRAWFORD

C+. Cheick Diallo FINALLY saw a good dose of NBA minutes tonight. Diallo did have seven points and nine rebounds, showing his promise going forward. However, the nerves seem to hit him hard. His shots were rushed at times and the Warriors’ bigs really put pressure on him all game. This is going to get a lot better over time and he could pan out to be a key piece for New Orleans. For now, he is still a youngster with a lot to learn.. PF. . CHEICK DIALLO

Donatas Motiejunas did his best in a game he was outmatched. Donuts had eight points on 3-7 shooting and two assists. His size and range can be tough for some teams to guard. He did use that well late, getting some open looks including a three. However, his poor defense and lack of speed, the Warriors took advantage and blew right past him. His fit on this team has gone from a great idea to get him back in the league, to a frustrating disappointment of an exciting season.. C/PF. . DONATAS MOTIEJUNAS. C+

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

What’s Next For The Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans will finish their final two games on the West Coast. They begin a back-to-back to finish the season Tuesday night, as they head to Los Angeles to play the Lakers. Tip-off is on schedule for 9:30 p.m. CST.