Pelicans Drop Heartbreaker, Fall Out of 8th Seed in West


The New Orleans Pelicans (37-31) lost to the Phoenix Suns (36-33) tonight in what was probably the ugliest game of the season.

Both teams shot atrociously from the field and the game could have gone either way, Anthony Davis was sorely missed and it’s clear the Pelicans need him to remain regularly competitive.

Truthfully the Suns didn’t win the game so much as they lost it less, but sometimes it’s better to be lucky then good.

The Pelicans have now lost seven of their last eleven games against the Phoenix Suns.

Despite this historical disadvantage they started out the game strong, leading 12-6 to begin the game. From that point on neither team could find any consistent rhythm, and both teams were struggling simply to advance the ball and avoid turnovers.

The announcers remarked early that Eric Gordon was trying desperately command his team.

Mar 19, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Gordon (10) shoots the ball in the first quarter against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

He led the Pelicans in points and minutes tonight despite shooting 6/16 form the field. Neither team could score efficiently in the first quarter, with the Pelicans shooting 33% from the floor and the Suns shooting 41%.

The second half showed an increase in energy, but still lacked any offensive reliability.

Both teams were fighting hard on the glass, Marcus Morris broke his career high in boards and Omer Asik had 12 rebounds by halftime. Archie Goodwin was arguably the Suns driving force at that point, shooting 4/7 from the field by the buzzer.

By halftime the Suns led the Pelicans 41-34 and both teams were a combined 2/18 from behind the arc. The Pelicans were struggling to get to the line and make free throws as well, they shot 37% from the line by the start of the third.

The one bright spot was that the Pelicans defense was excelling against the fast paced Suns, and allowed them to stay in the game.

The Pelicans went on a 9-2 run, to start the third.

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They were forcing themselves back into the game but mid-quarter foul trouble slowed down the process. Eric Bledsoe also looked completely lost on offense, with four minutes left in the third he was 2-12 from the field and was shooting 0% from deep.

The Pelicans were able to rally and score the final eight points of the third quarter, bringing them within two to start the fourth.

Luke Babbit hit the opening shot of the final quarter to tie the game, and Alexis Ajinca slammed one down to give the Pelicans the lead for the first time since their 12-6 start.

With seven minutes let in the game the Pelicans hadn’t shot a single free throw since halftime. That was until Jeff Withey entered the game and heaved himself at the rim like he saw a coupon for a new haircut.

Brandon Wright was the largest defensive obstacle for the Pelicans, and ended the game seven blocks and more than a few forced turnovers.

Mar 19, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Norris Cole (right) dives for a loose ball against Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe in the second half at US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Pelicans 74-72. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Both teams still struggled to score.

By the final buzzer they would combine to shoot 7 of 40 from deep and 61% from the line. of the 19 players active in tonight game, 13 of them shot below 50% form the floor.

Tyreke Evans struggled the most, he shot 4/16 from the floor, and 0% from deep despite taking the second most shots from behind the line. Nights like these make it hard to trust him as a late game decision maker.

With under one minute left the Pelicans were down 73-69.

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Monty Williams called a time out and drew up a gorgeous offensive play which set Eric Gordon up for a perfect three-pointer. The Suns fumbled shortly after and the Pelicans received the ball with just over 30 seconds left.

Down by one, any shot would have given them the lead.

Monty then called for Tyreke to isolate, waste time and attack the rim like a tank.

Tyreke managed to split the defense, but he missed a simple eight foot bunny shot that cost the Pelicans the win.  Brandon Wright nabbed the board, and secured the outcome since there was just slightly over two seconds left.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are now in possession of the 8th seed with a record of 38-30.

If New Orleans can match their record by the end of the season than they will be fine since they have the tie breaker, but if they fall even one game short they are stuck in the lottery, AND will be forced to give their pick to Houston.

An unthinkable fate, for such a once-promising season….

As the NBA season comes to a close, keep it close to Big Easy Believer for all news and updates concerning your New Orleans Pelicans.

Next: The Low-Key Genius of Pelicans GM Dell Demps