The New Orleans Pelicans entered the bubble three weeks ago. After Saturday’s performance it seemed they were ready to leave.
This week the New Orleans Pelicans found possibly the two worst ways to lose a basketball game.
In Thursday night’s loss to the Utah Jazz, the Pelicans squandered a 16 point lead, committed 20 turnovers, bizarrely used Zion Williamson‘s restricted “bursts” at the beginning of quarters only, and ultimately lost by two as Brandon Ingram’s potential game winning three rattled out.
The Pelicans would surely atone for letting a game they had in hand slip away by putting a better performance together, right? Wrong.
Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers seemed over just as soon as it started. The Clippers started the game red-hot as Paul George opened the game hitting three straight 3-pointers in the opening minutes.
The Clippers continued to rain three’s all night, as they fell one three pointer short of the NBA record 17 in a half. They finished with a franchise record 25 three pointers made for the game, while the Pelicans’ offense repeated the same sloppy effort shown in the opener.
The Pelicans had as many turnovers (7) as assists in the first quarter and finished the game with 18 that directly led to 34 points off turnovers for the Clippers. Turnovers are lost opportunities for the Pelicans, which they couldn’t afford on a night when LA barely missed.
And if the Pels cannot contain dribble penetration and the opposing team’s 3-point shooting, turnovers spell certain death to their chances of winning games.
The New Orleans Pelicans need to win them all, starting with Memphis.
So what’s next for the team? They have a Monday night tussle with the team they are chasing for the 8th and final spot in the playoffs. To say the game versus the Memphis Grizzles is a must win is putting it lightly.
Losing that game and falling 0-3 with five games to go maybe too tall of a task to get to a play in game scenario.
The team must get off to a fast start, limit turnovers, and defend the three point line. If the New Orleans Pelicans fall back into the same sloppy tendencies that persisted in the first two games, they will find themselves exiting the bubble after eight games.
The time is now for the New Orleans Pelicans to regroup and come together as a team for the final six games. The team has the talent to make it happen, though the results must be proven on the court.
The Pelicans are hoping to ride this bubble a little longer in Orlando.