New Orleans Pelicans at Houston Rockets: First Preseason Game

At long last, the New Orleans Pelicans will pre-take the floor for the pre-first time against their division rivals and new NBA must-see team, the Houston Rockets. The game will be played at the Rockets’ home, the Toyota Center in Houston. CSN Houston will begin their broadcast at 7 p.m. CDT (UTC -5), but the game is not being broadcast by FSNO. The Pelicans website shows the game as being on NBATV, but the Pelicans themselves tweeted that the game is not on TV. NBATV indicates that they will broadcast Chicago and Indiana on the books, not Houston and New Orleans. It is also not available on league pass . The game can be heard locally on 105.3 FM with Sean and John.

Update: No NBATV re-confirmed by the team.

The Pelicans will not have Eric Gordon available due to lack of conditioning after just recently being cleared following his ankle surgery in May. Brian Roberts rolled his ankle earlier this week and will likely not be available. The lineup will be official around 5. With Gordon out, the starting lineup will be Holiday, Morrow, Aminu, Davis, and Stiemsma according to John Reid. Since its preseason, the bench will get more minutes that usual.

Update: No Anderson, Coach’s Decision.

One’s instinct be to put no stock in the rotations since Gordon is out, but the frontcourt rotation should not be terribly affected. Rather, it should only muck up the backcourt substitution patterns. Also, with Evans not getting the start, it shows how serious Coach Williams is about his bench role. As is typical, there is only so much information that can be extracted from a preseason game, but looking for new or refined skills will pay dividends (if they have any). Things to look for would be:

  • Improved jump shooting and ball handling from Aminu
  • New offensive moves and footwork from Davis
  • Rivers improvement with his left hand
  • Smith’s shot and energy following his injury

Rivers’ ability to finish is too influenced by effective defense really evaluate in preseason.

On the Rockets’ side of things, and thanks to Rahat Huq at Red94 for discussions through the week about the game, Asik, Camby, and Garcia are out for the game. Asik’s injury is a calf strain and is not drama-related. Howard missed a practice with sore foot, but was back in action and should play typical preseason starter minutes. Aside from Howard and Harden, Rahat sees Terrence Jones as having some potential to do some damage to the Pelicans, and the former teammate of Davis at Kentucky has had a great camp. The Pelican most likely to treat the Rockets like ducklings is Ryan Anderson. Anderson scored 18, 19, and 20 in the three losses to Houston last season, 0 in the one win. There’s no reason to see Anderson’s good performance as causing 3 of 4 losses on a team that lost 2 of 3 games overall, but it’s clear that Anderson can be effective and that Houston focusing on him also helps New Orleans. Harden likely had more influence over the losses, as he scored at least 30 in the Rockets’ wins, a mere 25 in the loss.

Rahat and I both expect feeding Howard to be the focus of the offense. Rahat expects them to run, as well.

With the improved backcourt by New Orleans, and with the freedom to be an unabashed homer in the preseason, I’ll call it a Pelicans win, say, 90 – 85.

Check out Red94 and my Q&A there.

See you for the post-game.

For those evacuating and securing your homes, stay safe, and best of luck in the storm.

6 responses to “New Orleans Pelicans at Houston Rockets: First Preseason Game”

  1. Way to go FSN.  Evidently the masses would rather watch the scintillating Kentucky-South Carolina football game (up against the LSU game) rather than their local basketball team with new uniforms, new name, and new players.  So much for the Pelicans being their flagship.  Sigh … radio it will be for me tonight.

  2. andregurov Few preseason games are aired for each team. This is just typical business. FSNO is not short-changing Pelicans fans more that then typical NBA fan. 
    Miami’s partner is airing zero.
    The Lakers, who have the biggest TV deal in the NBA, have theirs aired.
    The Thunder, who basically have the same partner as the Pelicans, have non broadcast.
    It’s just a misconception that these things are picked up by the local tv deals to any great extent.

  3. I was very excited about Morrow and happy he had such a great debut game tonight…Rivers also great except for losing his way from the line late in the game…biggest concern?  Holiday…6pts…3asts…8 TURNOVERS…I know many on here mentioned his TO issues on the 6ers, but attributed that to his situation there…my hope is that he is simply struggling right now to define his role with the Pels as I know he’s much better than that…8 Turnovers!!!!!!!!!!

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