Pelicans woeful in home loss to Celtics
A pair of disappointing teams hooked up Monday night at Smoothie King Center. One left continuing to struggle mightily while the other got well at the expense of the struggling group.
Unfortunately for locals, the struggling bunch was the New Orleans Pelicans, who were as bad as they have been all season long, perhaps the absolute worst they have been in a home game.
It was an awful look and an awful performance.
Boston came in as a team looking for an offensive identity. It is safe to say the Celtics found their offense in New Orleans, scoring a season high in points in a 124-107 victory. The only game as bad was the first loss of the season, a 132-111 loss to Utah on Oct. 27 in game Anthony Davis missed.
The Pelicans need a point guard and need one desperately. They committed 22 turnovers and most were dreadful in nature. That matched a season high. The Celtics scored 32 points off of those turnovers and that is a season high against the Pelicans.
Boston won in virtually every area, outscoring the Pelicans 42-34 in the paint, shooting 49.5 percent from the field and 49 percent from 3-point range. Not bad for a team that came in really struggling to shoot the basketball. The Celtics had a slight 42-40 edge on the boards and had 27 assists to 21 for the Pelicans. Boston had 18 second chance points and 18 fast break points.
Were it not for the Pelicans going 27-of-29 from the free throw line to just 9-of-10 for the Celtics, Boston may have won by 30 points. It was that bad.
New Orleans trailed by as many as 20 points in the first half before rallying to trail 57-48 by halftime. Boston packed the paint with defenders and any pass that went into the paint was challenged.
The Pelicans were awful with the ball in the first half, committing 12 turnovers which turned into 19 points for the Celtics. New Orleans stayed in the game thanks to 19 second quarter points from Niko Mirotic, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range. New Orleans shot just 37 percent in the first half.
After falling behind by 19 points, the Pelicans closed the third quarter on an 11-2 run to cut the deficit to 89-79 going to the final quarter. Down the stretch, Kyrie Irving made big plays to put the game away.
Irving finished with 26 points, 10 assists and five steals to lead Boston. Davis returned from injury to finish with 27 points, 16 rebounds, five assists, three steals and three blocks. Mirotic led the Pelicans with 25 points.
The biggest concern remains the point guard position. Jrue Holiday is trying his best but he is clearly not the answer. He committed eight turnovers, an absolute killer. It was the eighth time this season he has committed five or more turnovers.
Holiday thrived at the two-spot a year ago. With the injury to Elfrid Payton and the failure of Jarrett Jack to make the roster, the Pelicans have no one to play the position. Tim Frazier is certainly not the answer. E’twaun Moore is a shooting guard. Ian Clark is not that guy. Frank Jackson is not the answer.
Alvin Gentry is grasping at straws to find any bench production beyond Julius Randle. Darius Miller did score 11 points but he has not been consistent at all. He even tried Solomon Hill for the first time in a long time.
New Orleans will host Washington Wednesday night. The Wizards won at home over the Pelicans 124-114 last Saturday.
The Pelicans have now committed 20 or more turnovers three times this season and have lost all three games. New Orleans has lost four straight and look the part of a confused, regressing team, a rudderless ship without a point guard, without a leader. With Payton out for about five more weeks, the Pelicans need to change course soon or risk fading into oblivion. They are trending down, to say the least.
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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…