The New Orleans Pelicans’ troubles scoring against the Golden State Warriors in the teams’ first two playoff games have put some of the spotlight on forward Ryan Anderson.
Anderson, a key player off the bench as the team’s 3-point shooter, averaged 13.7 points in 61 games this season. But in two playoff games, he has scored a total of seven points on 2-of-11 shooting, including 1-of-4 on 3-pointers.
Anderson, who returned to the Pelicans on April 1 after missing 18 games with a sprained right knee, said it has been difficult to find his rhythm coming back from the injury. But he said the bigger reason he struggled at Golden State is that Warriors, especially forward Harrison Barnes, have done a good job against him.
“They’re putting a smaller guy on me and basically not leaving me (open),” he said. “The few shots that I do get, I’d like to make them. That’s why I’m working.”
Often in cases involving a perimeter shooting power forward like Anderson, the counter move would be to post low against the smaller defender.
“They run him off the line; they switch a lot,” Pelicans coach Monty Williams said. “Even when he posts up, Harrison is an athletic guy, and (Andre) Iguodala is a great defender.”
Anderson takes solace that the threat of his making a 3-pointer still opens the court for teammates to drive to the basket or get shots.
Williams said he and his staff have to do a better job of getting Anderson open.
“Ryan will get his opportunities,” Williams said. “The numbers say he’s going to shoot the ball well from here on out. He hasn’t shot it as well, but he hasn’t had those clear looks at the basket that he’s accustomed to.”
Since his second game back April 3, Anderson has shot 22-of-77 (28.6 percent).
“Every team we’ve played has really had something to play for, playoff-wise,” he said. “So teams are trying to take me out, and that’s something I have to understand, especially now.”
Williams was asked whether having starting center Omer Asik in the lineup was not a good tradeoff for scoring. Asik, a good defensive player, has scored just four points.
Williams said it was a good tradeoff, noting that the Warriors, who averaged 113 points at home during the regular season, have averaged just 101.3 in the two playoff games.
“The tradeoff isn’t bad, but we need the scoring,” Williams said.
“I wish it was football” with an offensive unit and a defensive unit, he said. “It’s not, and I don’t have enough timeouts (for offense/defense basketball) to do that.”
Williams said taking advantage of defensive stops with the fast break would help.
Thursday’s game is sold out, but required holds could be released back on Pelicans.com, the team said. … Williams will be part of an NBA contingent that be on hand for the league’s first game in Africa on Aug. 1 in Johannesburg. The game will feature Team Africa vs. Team World and will benefit several charities. The game will take place after Basketball Without Borders Africa, an NBA and FIBA global development campaign.