After two disappointing but ultimately redeemable losses, the New Orleans Pelicans resorted to getting absolutely blown-out by the San Antonio Spurs.
Game one against the Nuggets was a closely contested battle between two teams trying to figure things out. The Nuggets got two 20 point performances out of their roster and the Pelicans got a 50 point game from AD.
Game two was an equally close competition between a complacent team of superstars and a scrappy group of role players.
But tonight wasn’t close. There wasn’t any redeeming moral value behind the loss, the Pelicans simply got blown out.
Oct 29, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16) drives to the basket past New Orleans Pelicans center Omer Asik (3) and power forward Anthony Davis (23, behind) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Anthony Davis contributed just 18 points and 5 rebounds. Tim Frazier only managed to score 5 points on a measly 2/8 shooting.
Solomon Hill played good defense, but also scored just 5 points as well and seemed out of control with the ball. Buddy had his moments, but he ended the game 3/10 and continued some rookie mistakes.
One player who found himself tonight was E’Twaun Moore. After an inconsistent start, Moore began to fire off isolation daggers. He ended the game with 18 points on 8/13 shooting and played great defense against the Spurs guards.
As a team, the Pelicans were a mess. They struggled to get any kind of rhythm going and blew multiple easy opportunities. Their defense wasn’t bad, but they simply could not buy a bucket for multiple 2-3 minute stretches.
Meanwhile, the Spurs executed like tonight was game 7 of the 2014 playoffs. With Parker, Manu, and Green inactive, the Pelicans had no right to play the injury card.
The Spurs role players and bench dwellers stepped up and filled the void left by the traditional starters. Patty Mills dropped 18/5 and hit multiple clutch threes while 9 of the Spurs rotation players contributed at least 5 points.
The Pelicans kept the game relatively close through the first two, but fell apart completely in the 3rd. The Spurs were relentless, diving for loose balls and capitalizing on all the Pelicans apparent weaknesses.
At one point, the Spurs were up by almost 30 points before the Pelicans finally strung a few made field goals together.
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The main difference between tonight and the Pelicans first two games was Anthony Davis. In the first two games he scored 95 total points and was superhuman on both ends.
Tonight he threw in the towel and didn’t make the same effort to singlehandedly carry the team.
You can’t really blame Davis for taking one night off after his first two performances.
With less than a day rest and more than 80 minutes played so far it was expected he’d slow down. Once he realized the team was going to lose by 20 as opposed to 6 or 8, he adjusted his intensity.
The Pelicans next three games are against the Bucks, Grizzlies, and Suns. After getting their opening day jitters over-with and then taking on what might be the two best teams in the league they will finally have an opportunity to tackle some winnable games.
The Pelicans will get some much-needed R and R and AD will be ready for more monster performances. Tonight was a virtue-less lack of effort, but the worst part of the opening month is over and things only get brighter from here on out.
At least that’s what New Orleans is hoping for, anyway…….