Pelicans pay for no-show in Philly as Sixers roll 100-82
Philadelphia sports fans are still basking in the blow of the Eagles winning the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl parade was a smash hit, with over million adoring patrons saluting their new champions.
In the New Orleans area, parades are the rage as Mardi Gras approaches. Perhaps the New Orleans Pelicans were hung over from a parade or something.
How else to you explain their performance at Philadelphia Friday night where the Pelicans simply did not show up?
The game was over before you could blink an eye.
The 76ers blitzed the Pelicans 100-82 in a game that was nowhere near as close as the final score.
It was 32-14 at the end of one quarter. Suffice it to say that the strategy to start DeAndre Liggins over Rajon Rondo did not produce the desired result. In 19 minutes, Liggins did not score a point and had all of one assist. Rondo came off the bench for 10 assists in 25 minutes but the Pelicans were well down in the game by the time he got going.
Once again, the best player on the team and one of the best in the league was simply not productive.
Anthony Davis scored just 14 points in 28 minutes, shooting just 6-of-19 from the field. He did have eight rebounds but the Pelicans were a plus-29 when he was on the floor, hardly what Alvin Gentry needs to have a chance to win. Davis is now 12-of-35 with just 29 total points in his last two games. The Pelicans have no chance with those numbers.
Add to that the fact that Jrue Holiday, your second option, scored just nine points in 23 minutes and you have the embarrassment that was this game. Holiday is now just 10-for-43 (23%) from 3-point range in his last 10 games.
Nikola Mirotic shot poorly, scoring 12 points but on just 5-of-15 shooting from the field.
New Orleans was pathetic from the field, shooting 34.7 percent. Of course, the Pelicans got hammered in every phase of the game. Philadelphia won the boards 58-46 and shot 41 percent from 3-point range.
The only good news is that the blowout was 84-52 after three quarters which enabled Gentry to rest his key players with the second of a back-to-back coming up tonight at Brooklyn, for whatever that is worth.
How New Orleans could produce such a weak effort, being so well rested, is stunning. The Pelicans had their game with Indiana canceled Wednesday night due to the new Watergate. They had not played since Monday, when they were blown out at home by Utah 133-109 in another lousy effort.
It is one thing to be missing a great player in Demarcus Cousins. His loss cannot be overstated but it is over with. The Pelicans still have a Boogie hangover. How long will it last?
New Orleans has now lost three straight and five of six without Cousins.
To make matters worse, the rest of the Western Conference playoff contenders are heating up and if the season ended today, New Orleans would miss the playoffs, having fallen to the ninth spot.
The Clippers are playing quite well without Blake Griffin. They have now won three straight after beating Griffin and the Detroit Pistons in a heated affair Friday night. Denver was playing well before losing to the elite Rockets Friday night. Portland has won two straight. Utah has now won eight straight games and the Jazz are now just a game and a half behind New Orleans.
If the Pelicans do not get their act together soon, they will miss the playoffs. Even without Cousins, that is an unacceptable result for ownership, management and long-suffering fans. More importantly, what message will that send to Cousins with his long-term decision on where he will play looming?
Losing to good teams who play better than you is acceptable. Losing to average teams who simply play harder is unacceptable. Gentry said afterwards that the Pelicans lacked energy early. How can that be when you are well rested and have so much to play for? Everyone is to blame, from Gentry to the players.
The three-game road trip continues at Brooklyn tonight. The Nets are no good, having lost four straight and sporting a 19-37 record. Because key players played less than 30 minutes, the Pelicans should be able to put up a fight and play with energy tonight. Anything less could signal the beginning of the end to what was a promising season just two weeks ago.
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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…