New Orleans Pelicans: Ugly loss to Hornets exposes early-season trends

LaMelo Ball #2 of the Charlotte Hornets and Gordon Hayward #20 of the Charlotte Hornets react after takeing the lead over the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
LaMelo Ball #2 of the Charlotte Hornets and Gordon Hayward #20 of the Charlotte Hornets react after takeing the lead over the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Pelicans blew another winnable game against the Charlotte Hornets, which is becoming a trend.

I wish I could say that I was surprised that the New Orleans Pelicans blew yet another double-digit lead to a bad team, but at this point, I’m not.

The Pelicans dropped their third winnable game in a row behind a pathetic second half that ranked among the worst I’ve ever seen the Pelicans play.

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They allowed 71 points in the second half to a Charlotte team that was 2-5 coming in and looked like they weren’t in the Pelicans’ league in the first half.

This was not the response we were hoping for after an embarrassing loss to the Thunder.

To top it off, LaMelo Ball came just shy of a triple-double in the first Ball Bowl and looked better than Lonzo Ball doing it.


The Pelicans have fallen back into some troubling trends that go back to last season, including their inability to execute in clutch time.

New Orleans Pelicans: The Pels aren’t playing complete games

A tale of two halves

After coming out with energy and having their best quarter of the season, the Pelicans fell back to earth and the Hornets started chipping away.

The Pels scored 38 points in the first quarter, built a 16-piont lead and it looked like they were going to cruise.

But after that, it was all Charlotte. The Hornets won all three of the next quarters and the Pels had few answers for their dribble penetration.

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The Hornets cut into the lead before the first half was over and you could already see the writing on the wall.

The Pelicans must have had a cup of sleepy-time tea sometime after the first quarter because the energy they started the game with disappeared.

This has happened all too often, as the Pels look like contenders for a quarter, then look like a lottery team the next.

More blown leads

The Pelicans once again took their foot off the gas after building a big lead, a trend that is now more than an anomaly, as it’s happened in all but one game.

Some of this has to go on Stan Van Gundy, as the Pelicans just seem to go flat and stop playing aggressively with leads like they are trying to run out the clock.

You cannot do that in the NBA, and this young team is learning that the hard way.

This was just a sloppy, dare I say arrogant loss, as the Pelicans thought they could coast to victory without really trying.

The Pels may have the more high profile players, but the Hornets played with more heart and effort.

The Turnovers

The Pelicans were throwing the ball all over the place the whole game and probably could have been up by 50 at half had they not had 12 turnovers.

They added seven more in the second half, which is what allowed Charlotte back in the game.

The Pelicans still aren’t executing their offense well and rely too much on isolation plays to get buckets. At some point, they just stop moving the ball, which leads to a lot of tough plays in traffic.

Every Pelicans’ starter had at least two turnovers, which is not a recipe for winning a game.

The New Orleans Pelicans are struggling right now, which was expected with a new coach and some new faces, but part of this is effort and they just aren’t giving it for an entire game right now.

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