The decks were stacked against them this Saturday night, but that’s just the nature of the beasts over the course of their 82-game schedule.
The New Orleans Pelicans failed to make an A-game or anything close to it, losing 116-101 to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Advanced stats show the Grizzlies are the most solid team on the home floor in the entire league. The same is true for eye exams. They’re a tough, physical group who defend very well, take advantage of transition opportunities, and look to play Smashmouth basketball in the paint.
“They forced us to hit tough shots,” said Willie Green. “We’ve been flipping the ball too far against this team, and it’s fostering their transition opportunities. It was a funky game for us.”
The Pelicans finished with 16 assists for 20 turnovers. Memphis held New Orleans to his season-low 35.2 field goal percentage, fast break he edged 26-13 in points, and in paint he dominated the lane 74-44 points in points. did.
Zion Williamson faced another defensive wall. Dillon Brooks guarded him directly, with Jaren Jackson Jr. and Stephen Adams sitting in or near the lanes to support him. They did a great job of beating him on just about every foray into the paint.
After 43-point and 36-point games, Williamson had to settle for 20 points. He connected on 6 of 16 shot attempts. But what really stands out is his assist-to-turnover ratio.
1 assist vs. career-high 9 turnovers.
Around @Presidential (taking into account opponent strength, home vs. road, breaks, distance traveled, etc.), tonight was the Pelicans’ second-hardest game of the entire 82-game season (only the Celtics were harder in January). ). Losses are okay. Get out of there healthy.
— NOLA Analytics (@NolaAnalytics) January 1, 2023
Playing for the third time in four days, the Pelicans looked like a mentally and physically exhausted group. It’s scary that he doesn’t have the focus and energy needed for his second toughest matchup this season.
Williamson was on the sideline, making sloppy passes and dribbling wrongly. There is no doubt that Z is better than he has shown, even against very good defense.
His teammates didn’t get along for much of the same reason. Regular rotations or cuts to help relieve pressure were less common.Players did not adapt as the match progressed. Nothing looked sharp.All slog.
There were a lot of indicators in my eyes, so of course the individual stat lines were disappointing.
CJ McCollum couldn’t drop anything. He finished with 10 points on 4 of 16 shots. He also added three assists for six turnovers.
Nagy Marshall had a great run just before halftime, which included both field goals on 10 attempts of the game.
Jonas Valanciunas made no impact after fouling out in the 22nd minute.
Responding to whether his group could have been tired, Willie Green said, “Perhaps they were, but I don’t want to use that as an excuse.”Kudos to the Grizzlies. We handle business on the floor, they’re a more physical team and I thought they were a step ahead of us tonight.”
The Grizzlies were definitely more physical. It was also much faster.
Stephen Adams was a monster. Recorded 21 rebounds. He made two steals and two blocks. Williamson rarely passed him. But when he did, another grizzly was waiting to steal the ball or block the shot.
Memphis finished with 25 combined steals and blocks. It’s a staggering number. The Grizzlies are a good team, but not a very good one. This is evident from the average blocks + steals so far tonight of 13.2.
Ja Morant was the best attacking player on the floor for both teams with 32 points and eight assists.
Herb Jones and his perceived struggles deserve special mention. Jones looked like a player who had been sidelined for three games because of the coronavirus. He made only 2 of his 12 shots. He airballed a layup.
During a broadcast on Barry Sports New Orleans, Antonio Daniels informed the audience that Jones had lost 10 pounds while taking health and safety procedures.
In addition to tough opponents, the Pelicans weren’t as fresh as they usually are, which made the game feel very disorganized. There were a lot of interruptions, but nothing worse than when the shots and game clock didn’t work for most of the first half.
As I wrote at the beginning, the Pelicans had to deal with stacked decks. So this wasn’t a team used to handling business in an infinitely effective way, so it’s probably best to flash it.
As in other announcements, Happy New Year everyone!!
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