Familiar shortcomings doom Pelicans in Brooklyn
It was a shootout.
If the New Orleans Pelicans are going to win games this season, they are going to have to outscore opponents.
That is obvious, due to the inadequacies of New Orleans on the defensive end and in the rebounding department.
This is a familiar theme, one which we have harped on since the start of the season.
New Orleans lost another shootout, this time 135-125 at Brooklyn Monday night.
Seven games into the season, both aspects are, unfortunately, alive and well, a living, breathing entity with the potential with a long life span, with or without Zion Williamson.
Brandon Ingram went for a career high 40 points. He was terrific on the offensive end.
Jaxson Hayes was on the floor in the fourth quarter, in crunch time. He was not ready for it, though it was a learning experience and he did have his moments.
New Orleans buried itself at halftime, trailing 67-50 and the Pelicans trailed by as many as 20 points. It was too much to overcome, despite pulling within four points following a franchise record 48 points in the third quarter.
Kyrie Irving was simply unstoppable. Jrue Holiday is a good defensive player but he had no answer for Irving, who finished with 39 points and nine assists.
Holiday was decent with 17 points, seven rebounds, four steals and three assists, but he has not been the star New Orleans needs, to this point of the season. The Pelicans were minus 17 with Holiday on the floor.
JJ Redick and Frank Jackson each had 12 points off the bench. Lonzo Ball had 15 points and Josh Hart finished with 14. It was not enough.
The center position was a huge deficit. Jahlil Okafor, Derrick Favors and Hayes combined for seven points.
You cannot expect to win giving up 135 points. You cannot win when you don’t or cannot defend. You cannot win getting outrebounded again (45-39). You cannot win when you do not share the ball. New Orleans had just seven assists in the first half and 18 for the game, compared to 32 for the Nets.
New Orleans cannot expect to win when the opponent outscores you on fast break points (23-16). After all, the whole identity and thrust of this team is to play faster than the opponent. As usual, New Orleans was outscored in the paint, this time 58-48.
No team is giving up more wide open looks from 3-point range than the Pelicans.
This is a team building for the future.
New Orleans will host defending NBA champion Toronto Friday night. The Raptors beat the Pelicans 130-122 in overtime on Oct. 22 to open the season. Then comes the second of a back-to-back at Charlotte. No one said it was going to be easy but did you envision that it would be 1-6 hard, at this point?
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE Owner and CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Football Foundation, College…