New Orleans Pelicans Surge Late to Defeat Cavs (Plus: Eric Gordon Interview)

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Published: July 15, 2013
Austin Rivers to the rack

Tied at 60 with just over one minute remaining in the game, Austin Rivers drove left and scored on a beautiful layup to break the tie. After a Cleveland miss, Rivers attacked again (see above) and put the Pelicans up four with under a minute to go. After a Cleveland bucket, Brian Roberts drained a jumper to ice the game as the Pelicans finished the Summer League regular season with a 66-62 win and a 2-1 record.

Roberts and Rivers struggled mightily throughout the game, but combined for the final six points down the stretch, while last year’s 4th overall pick Dion Waiters went 0-3 in that same stretch. Lance Thomas kept the Pelicans in the game, going 5-5 in the first half, and Jeff Withey provided quite a defensive presence as well. Darius Miller was quiet for most of the afternoon, but he hit a big three pointer in the 4th and Pierre Jackson had flashes as well. Overall, it was a much crisper game than we saw last night, save for the third quarter. But does a poor third quarter really surprise anybody at this point?

Notes and Observations

– Hard not to fall in love with Jon Brockman. Number 1 question I have gotten since Friday is whether or not I think he will make our roster. To the dismay of many, my answer is no. It is one thing to get hustle points in Summer League, but the NBA is about skill, and Brockman’s skill level is low. I don’t see a position he can guard in the NBA and there is no offense to speak of whatsoever. If you like Brockman, enjoy these final few games with him as a Pelican.

– Dion Waiters is everything Chad Ford said Austin Rivers would be. He is a me-first player in every sense. He spends the entire offensive possession with his hands in the air, calling for the ball. If he doesn’t get it, he pouts for the next ten seconds, even if his team makes a bucket. During timeouts, he pulls the other guards aside and lets them know he is open”every time” (in his own words). The kid has talent, but he is the exact player Monty and Dell tend to avoid. I doubt he would have been the pick even if he would have lasted until #10.

– Rivers almost never tries to split the two defenders coming off the pick. I think that limits his options quite a bit. He either goes around them wide or picks up his dribble. If he can get his dribble lower and occassionally split that, it will make the big hedge harder and it will be easier to get around him.

– Withey is fantastic on defense around the basket, but he really gets in trouble when the big pulls him out of the paint. That limites how much you can play him. Makes it impossible to play him at the end of games. On the plus side, his face up jumper is ahead of schedule. He can knock that down on a fairly regular basis right now.

– Pierre Jackson is the shortest guy on the court, but he always finds a way to stand out. Some terrific plays mixed with some terrible ones. Very little in between.

Eric Gordon Talks Pelicans Plus an Interview with Jeff Withey