The Pelicans came out smoking hot, the Rockets came out like they’d been smoking something. With no answer for MVP In Waiting Anthony Davis, the Pelicans jumped out to a big lead they wouldn’t relinquish in the quarter. When Davis went out the Pelicans bench, despite Julius Randle gave up ground to the Rockets and the quarter ended 36 Pelicans 29 Rockets.
The Pelicans are designed not only to play at a fast pace, but to punish smallball. Adding Randle to Davis is a problem for nearly any team. So it proved for the Rockets, as Davis, Mirotic and Randle combined for 50pts at the half. If you were wondering what the downside of small ball is, it’s facing a team with bigs that can make you pay for it. Fortunately few, if any, teams offer the combination of talented inside-out bigs that New Orleans does. I had them as one of the top four in the West, but I wish they weren’t showing it tonight.
An ugly 71-54 to the Pelicans at the half on 61% shooting by the visitors.
Started out badly, didn’t get much better. The Pelicans lead by thirty at one point and Nicola Mirotic posted a strong challenge to Anthony Davis’ nascent MVP campaign by scoring 26 pts on 10 of 14 shooting and 6-7 on 3pt attempts in three quarters. The Rockets showed some signs of life at the end of the quarter, cutting the lead to 17.
The fourth quarter opened poorly, with missed (but open) shots, and NO scoring two quick buckets. The window for an amazing comeback appeared to close, and indeed it did, as the Rockets showed more energy. but not more rebounding or defense.
The Pelicans, at their best, are a team effectively made to destroy small ball teams, and tonight they did. Dealing with the NBA’s ultimate mismatch in Anthony Davis, and add in Nicola Mirotic and Julius Randle, defedning with with one actual big and a bunch of wings can create terrible mismatches. Add to that two very big defensive guards in Jrue Holiday and Elfrid Payton, and the task gets harder still. I doubt New Orleans plays this well every night, but the Rockets appeared unprepared to deal with the questions the Pelicans pose.
The miserable final score 131-112.
This was a wire to wire hiding.
Do the Rockets need to beg Jeff Bezdelik to unretire?
Should the Rockets have played more than one guy taller than 6’9?
Will the parade of easy cuts to the basket on overcomitted defenders we saw tonight and in the preseason continue.
Further answers await this weekend.
Current Rockets Fan Mental State?
This poll is closed
Doomed! Doomed! Doomed!
This was bad, but things will improve.
All the narratives are true! We didn’t know our own team!
It’s one game. Relax.
Mavs 82-0 starts tonight!