New Orleans Pelicans Win First Preseason Game, Lose Tyreke Evans

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.

11 responses to “New Orleans Pelicans Win First Preseason Game, Lose Tyreke Evans”

  1. Listened to the radio broadcast from late in the second…sounded like first teamers got behind, second teamers bring them back…realize rotations are a bit skewed due to the absences…hope Evans will not miss much time..what a shame…Holiday my gosh with the 8TO’s…so much for it being a 6ers issue…perhaps trying to find his true role on a new team…did hear he was trying to learn and absorb an awful lot in a short period of time…way to go Morrow…can’t wait to see the penetrators salivating with him and Anderson on the floor together…

  2. Glad for the win but the Evans injury is troubling.  Injuries are a big deal for us at least in my opinion.  Hopefully Evans heals quickly and can get back sooner than later.  I know we want to take it slow with some players but we also have to emphasize the urgency needed for some of these players to step up.  Let’s see how they react to the Mavericks on Monday.  Geaux Pelicans.

  3. Saw the game in person and I was really impressed with Austin Rivers.  His on ball defense against Harden was much better than I had expected.  He played within himself most of the time and never got himself into too much trouble.  His 3 ball looked bad though and in the clutch he bricked a couple of free throws.  You gotta have something to work on right?  I wasn’t very impressed with Holiday offensively.  Patrick Beverly was causing all sort of problems for him at one stretch in the game and caused him to foul out.  Holiday did seem to play well on ball defensively.  It was a welcomed change from watching Grevis last year.  Anthony Davis came out shooting all manner of midrange shots and wasn’t having much success.  Luckily someone convinced him to start driving to the basket and the game went much better for him from that point on.  I am very concerned about his lack of rebounding in this game.  The Evans injury didn’t look good at all he couldn’t put any weight on the leg and had to be helped by two coaches to the locker room.

  4. With 3 of our best players out and our only all star struggling, we pull out a win.
    What does that say about us when we’re all 100%?
    A LOT.

  5. Caffeinedisaster well the Rockets were playing without a backup center (all of their other centers in camp were either hurt or cut.), which probably hurts more, especially looking at the +/- between their first and second unit.
    The biggest worry of the game (outside of Evans injury) was Jrue obviously,  
    Still, the Rockets are likely to be powerhouse this year, so putting up a decent showing against them goes a long way this year true, Rivers at least look like he won’t be horrendously overmatched this year.

  6. Don’t forget when you mention blocks…observe and see what kind of block…a0 did the play come right to him?..b0 did he “go and get the block?”…(come across the lane…or diagonal cut to get the block….or run the florr and chase down the block) fun obervation to make which tell you alot  about the art of blocking shots…..

  7. Tyreke rolling his ankle is a huge buzz kill.  Hopefully he gets back to 100% really soon.  We need to start catching breaks in the injury department at some point.

  8. Not too worried about Jrue. He was torching Lin in the first half but just struggled to finish at the basket but thats what preseason is for. In the second half he went up against Patrick Beverly who really gives point guards fits. We saw it last year against Russell Westbrook and the Thunder. In a regular season game we would’ve had either Evans or Gordon to help carry some of the load and keep Beverly honost because there is no we he can handle Jrue in the post.
    On another note, I thought the rest of our team looked fantastic considering it was our first preseason game. Harden really struggled when matched up against Rivers which is a very good sign. Looked like Rivers shooting percentage was a direct result of Dwight Howards presence in the post. When Howard was out Rivers basically got whatever he wanted. Cant wait to see our second unit in action. All of them looked great yesterday with the exception of Anderson obviously. Would like to see Evans get back sooner then later because its clear we still have alot more gelling to do. Davis is a star plain and simple.
    Flock Up!

  9. Loved the Game, Good win for sure. I cant wait for this season to start and im excited to see if Eric Gordon can play up to his potential.
    PS the Houston Rockets announcers are some of the worst i have Ever Heard… its embarrassing. I might have to move back to NOLA just to hear a game.

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