« The Golden Month and a New Beginning
New Orleans Pelicans Sweep the Magic »
Game On: New Orleans Pelicans at Orlando Magic
The preseason is finally coming to an end, and the real games are about to begin, but not until the Pelicans play the Magic one more time. In their first meeting in Jacksonville, Anthony Davis was simply dominant; scoring 29 points, grabbing 9 boards, logging two steals, and swatting 4 shots in 31 minutes. Brian Roberts helped close out the game, and scored 16 points in 25 minutes.
Since then, the Pelicans have added Eric Gordon to the starting lineup and also figure to have Tyreke Evans back tonight for the first time since the opening preseason game against the Rockets. It looks like this might be the first time we all get to see a fully healthy Pelicans team, and that is fantastic news with the regular season just around the corner. The first 20 or so games are the easiest stretch New Orleans will face this season, and having all the weapons at their disposal will go a long way to help the Pelicans get out to a fast start.
Tonight, the Pelicans should focus on a few key items.
1. They Have to Run More
Monty Williams has told anybody who would listen that he wants this team to run more. So far this preseason, we haven’t seen it. Tyreke Evans is probably this teams best open court player, so with him returning to the lineup, hopefully things will change.
2. Win the Battle of the Boards
The Magic won the rebound battle 52-43 last time, as they grabbed 17 offensive rebounds. Greg Stiemsma, specifically, was terrible. He only grabbed 2 rebounds in the 19 minutes he was out there, while the guy he guarded (Nikola Vucevic) had 5 offensive boards. Stiemsma won’t give this team anything offensively, that we know. But he has to help Davis and Aminu on the glass, or he is pretty much worthless out there.
3. Take Care of the Ball
It’s just the preseason, so it isn’t time quite yet to start worrying about all the turnovers, but they should treat this game like a regular season game and take care of the ball. Holiday had 5 turnovers in just 27 minutes last time against Orlando. He has to cut that in half. The big men need to start setting some legal screens and the guards need to help them by not going too soon. We are 5 days away from these games counting, and even the most talented of teams can not win if they just continually hand the ball to the opposition.