With Anthony Davis out, the New Orleans Pelicans dropped their third straight game in a 124-114 loss to the Washington Wizards. Here are three takeaways from the game.
After a tough loss to the New York Knicks, the New Orleans Pelicans (10-10) dropped their third straight game in a 124-114 loss to the Washington Wizards (7-12), Saturday night, in the Capital One Arena in Washington. With the loss, the Pelicans road struggles continues standing at 2-11 on the season.
With Anthony Davis out due to a right hip strain, the Pelicans did a solid job competing without their MVP. Julius Randle stepped up huge in place of The Brow, New Orleans held a 91-90 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, the Pelicans let another close game get away after they were outscored 34-23 in the final 12 minutes of the game.
The Wizards came out victorious with Otto Porter Jr leading the way with 29 points on 12-for-15 (80.0%) shooting from the field, 3-for-4 (75%) from behind the arc, seven rebounds, and four assists. John Wall recorded a solid night of 22 points, eight assists, and six rebounds.
Randle recorded a double-double of 29 points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists in the loss. Nikola Mirotic added in 24 points on 7-for-12 shooting from the field (58.3 %), 5-for-9 (55.5%) from 3 for the game.
3 Takeaways from the game:
Give me Moore:
With Anthony Davis out for the fourth time this season, the Pelicans needed all the help they could get from their supporting cast. While it was a giving that Randle and Mirotic were poised for a huge night, it was the play from E’Twaun Moore that kept the Pelicans in the game.
As an early-season favorite for Most Improved Player of the Year honors, Moore had another solid game with 19 points on 8-for-14 shooting from the field, five rebounds, and two assists. While Moore had a solid game on the offensive end, he looked like a young Gary Payton with the amount of steals he recorded in the nation’s capital.
Locked in defensively, Moore set a season-high with six steals in the loss to the Wizards. The Pelicans as a whole did not play a great defensive game, but no one can place the blame on Moore.
On fire from downtown:
The Wizards came into Saturday’s game as one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the league. They shot 31.7 percent from behind the arc, and were ranked 28th through their first 18 games of the season. However, despite the Pelicans holding their opponents to shoot 36.9 percent from 3, the Wizards had a field day from downtown against New Orleans.
With the game tied up at 68 apiece, the Pelicans allowed the Wizards to have one of the best shooting performances of the season in the first half. Washington came out on fire shooting 7-for-16 (43.8%) from behind the arc. The Pelicans struggled to stop the bleeding from outside as Wizards’ forward, Otto Porter Jr connected on three of his first four shots from downtown.
Although the Wizards cooled off in the second half and ended the game shooting 34.5 percent from 3, the Pelicans never recovered from Washington’s hot start to the game. If New Orleans came out more aggressive defending the perimeter, perhaps it would have been a different outcome in D.C.
Protecting the paint:
If their lack of effort to defend the 3 was not enough, then it was the number of points in the paint that caused the Pelicans the game. As the Pelicans struggled to protect the inside with Anthony Davis out, the Wizards capitalized and took advantage of New Orleans mistakes.
The Pelicans allowed the Wizards to score a season-high 70 points in the paint, and the damage was done without their eight-time all-star, Dwight Howard, who missed his second straight game due to a glute injury.
Although they fought hard, not having Davis hurt the Pelicans the most went protecting the paint against the Wizards.
After falling short, the Pelicans will return to action Monday night against the Boston Celtics, in Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. To stay up to date on all things Pelicans and more, be sure to subscribe to You Can Argue That Sports and receive notifications of new posts and podcasts by email.