West Conf. Semis: New Orleans Pelicans 116-121 Golden State Warriors - 5 Talking Points
So the New Orleans Pelicans came better prepared in Game 2, to battle with the defending champs but the result was the same as Saturday - a loss on the road.
The Pelicans withstood every Warriors' run and threw one punch back every time but alas, the Warriors were just too good. Golden State has now taken a strong hold on this series, with a 2-0 lead but at the end of the day, they did what they were supposed to - win at home. Now, it's the turn of the Pelicans to do their bit.
As the famous saying goes " A series doesn't start until a team wins on the road".
But before we discuss anything about Games 3 & 4 in New Orleans, it's important to analyze Tuesday's night Game 2. Here are the five biggest talking points.
#5 Pelicans' non-existent bench
Over the course of the 2017-18 regular season, the New Orleans Pelicans' bench had the seventh best offensive rating (107.1). Great, right?
Not completely. They also had a defensive rating of 107.7, good for 22nd in the league. So net rating wise, they ranked in the middle of the pack in 16th but that's with arguably the smallest sample size - 1382 minutes (5th least by a bench).
In the Playoffs, the Pelicans' bench ranks 9th in offensive rating but second to last in defensive rating, only being better than the Cleveland Cavaliers. Again, those ranks come with the second-least minutes on the floor. Only the reserves of the Portland Trail Blazers have seen fewer minutes.
In Game 2, the Pelicans' reserves weren't bad per se but it seems to be the decision of the head coach to leave them out for a very short time.
Only one bench player was on the court for more than 10 minutes. The four reserves combined for 13 points on 5-of-13 shooting, with the only player to have a bad shooting night being Solomon Hill (10 mins, 1-of-6 shooting, 2 points).
Comparing their Game 2 numbers would be unfair as Game 1 had become a blowout midway through the third quarter, so as the benches are emptied for garbage time, the reserves stats are bound to seem inflated.
The point is that fewer minutes for the bench means more onus, responsibility and load on the starters. Given the pace, the Pelicans want to play at, at some point, the efficiency of the starters is bound to take a dip.