New Orleans Pelicans Win First Preseason Game, Lose Tyreke Evans
Published: October 5, 2013
The first outing for the New Orleans Pelicans was a win on the scoreboard and a loss on the depth chart. With Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson not playing (Coach’s Decision), the Pelicans entered the game without key offensive cogs and a solid defender in Gordon. Then, after scoring his 7th point, Evans injured his ankle. X-rays showed no breaks, and an MRI is the next step in diagnosing the problem, determining the prognosis, planning the recovery.
The Pelicans played well enough early on, but allowed a 9-0 run after that to dig themselves a 33-22 hole after the first quarter, on 12 of 18 for the Rockets, including 4 of 5 from 3. The Pelicans opened the second with an 18-7 first 5 minutes, and the teams split the remaining time in the quarter, with Howard closing the half with a 3 point play courtesy of Jeff Withey. The third quarter saw a continual erosion of defense with 63 points scored, and the Rockets extending their lead to 91-82, again with a last second score, this one by Casspi. After Holiday fouled out in the fourth minute of the fourth, the Pelicans put the ball in Austin Rivers’ now-capable hands. At the 1:51, the Pelicans took a 1-point lead courtesy of 2 Anthony Morrow free throws. From that point on, the Pelicans scored from the line 4 times (2 Onuaku, 2 Rivers) and Rivers made a layup. The game ended when the Rockets dunked the ball while down 3. Pelicans win after the inbounding formalities, 116-115.
- Morrow’s quite the shooter. Morrow’s 26 points came on a TS% of nearly 72 over 33 minutes.
- Davis has clearly taken steps forward offensively. Defensively, he had some good minutes against Howard. He played 27 minutes.
- Arinze Onuaku had a great 20 minutes in the game. Hopefully the high foul rate was only a matter of jitters. He could also use a little hot sauce on some of those close shots.
- Smith is back.
- Rivers looks better in many respects. I’m sure the changes will be discussed in detail in coming articles and podcasts, but he was dribbling effectively with both hands, defending effectively, and showing leadership. His TS% was around 44%, so he’s not shown improvement over last years 43%.
- The loss of Evans, Gordon, Anderson clearly affected Holiday. He shot well but had 8 turnovers and fouled out.
- Holiday fouled out with more than 8 minutes to play, but fouls were an issue for a number of players: Holiday (6), Onuaku (5), Smith (4), Aminu (4), Stiemsma (3, in 10 minutes). In a game without too much defense being played, one is forced to recall Monty’s quip about asking the guys to foul and be physical.
- Stiemsma’s 10 minutes produced 3 fouls, an assist, and a block. It was not a great showing, and he did not play in the fourth quarter. Jeff Withey’s 1:20 at the end of the second produced a single foul.
Grasyon’s Notes from the First Half
- First play: Davis off a curl, fouled on jumper. First few sets he looks for his jumper, but it doesn’t fall.
- Rivers defense looking good, could be his strength this season. Gets a steal and leads to fast break. Does a very decent job on Harden, doesn’t allow him to get to his spots, slows him down after 1st Q barrage. Rivers is driving very well to the basket. Actually seems better at running the pick-and-roll.
- Aminu knows his role, lets hope he can hit his jumpers
- Pelicans unsure whether to run on the fast-break. Monty yelling “Go!” but Jrue half-heartedly attacks.
The next game is Monday night at 7:30 CDT (UTC -5) at Dallas (I hate the Mavericks). It will likely lack television coverage in the New Orleans area.