Pelicans Insider: New Orleans’ collapse in Houston encapsulates how Pelicans have ‘s*** the bed’

Pelicans Insider: New Orleans' collapse in Houston encapsulates how Pelicans have 's*** the bed'

HOUSTON — Jabari Smith Jr. hit a go-ahead jumper with 0.4 seconds left in Friday’s game between the Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans.

The AT&T SportsNet cameras lingered on the ebullient Rockets rookie for several seconds before smash-cutting to the Pelicans’ bench. Jonas Valanciunas, who had played his best game in weeks, had a thousand-yard stare plastered on his face. He bruised the Rockets inside for 22 points and 17 rebounds. But at that moment, he understood it was not going to be enough to win the game.

New Orleans led Houston by 15 points with 9:38 remaining. The rest of the way, New Orleans was outscored 30-13. The Pelicans lost 114-112.

“We s*** the bed,” Valanciunas said.

Sadly, that sentiment has come to define the Pelicans’ season. On Dec. 31, the Pelicans were in second place in the Western Conference. They had a 23-13 record.

Three days later, Zion Williamson injured his right hamstring in a road game in Philadelphia. The Pelicans’ slide without him has been precipitous. They have a 10-24 record in 2023. Only three teams have been worse: the 6-28 San Antonio Spurs, the 6-26 Detroit Pistons and the 8-26 Rockets, who the Pelicans face again Sunday.

“It’s very tough,” Valanciunas said. “We controlled the game for most of the game. Losing in last seconds, it’s kind of sad. I don’t know what we have to do. But we have to do something.”

The Pelicans have 12 games left in the regular season. They are ½ a game out of 10th place in the West, the lowest spot they can finish and still qualify for the play-in tournament. Even if the Pelicans make the play-in, it is difficult to imagine them advancing to the playoffs as they did last year. They have been one of the NBA’s worst teams for 2½ months.

“Sometimes we are playing great for a period of time,” Valanciunas said. “Then we play terrible for a period of time. There is no consistency.”

The Pelicans’ offense has looked broken without Williamson. Post-hamstring injury, the team ranks 26th in points scored per 100 possessions. The Pelicans have been heavily reliant on midrange specialists Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum to bail them out by making tough 2s, which is a difficult way to operate in 2023. It doesn’t help that the Pelicans are also thin on outside shooting. They rank 27th in 3-point attempts and 27th in 3-point percentage since Jan. 3. The Pelicans’ decision makers are aware of this flaw, and they know they need to address it this offseason.


About Marc Lemoine 3207 Articles
Marc is an Economist and a well experienced weightlifter who has won many championships. He intends to build a bright career in the media industry as well. He is a sports freak who loves to cover the latest news on sports, finance and economy.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.