Pelicans Overcome Magic and Poor Shooting

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Published: November 1, 2014

 

“Man, that was something.”

That was the first thought that came to my mind leaving the SKC Tuesday night. Pelicans shoot 40.6% from the field, 23.5% from 3, 48.4% from the line, and their talented backcourt of Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, and Tyreke Evans shoot a combined 12-34 (and their backups Austin Rivers, Jimmer Fredette, and John Salmons shoot 2-11) to open the season . . . And win . . . By 17!!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I can feel it . . . I can feel something special happening here in New Orleans. Tuesday night the Pelicans put up an egg shooting, but still managed to dominate the game. To counter the bad shooting, the Pelicans front court showed up in a big way and showed why the hype around this team is real. The trio of Ryan Anderson, Omer Asik, and Anthony Davis scored a combined 62 points on 26-54 from the field, 7-15 from the line, with 43 rebounds, and 14 blocks.

Anderson, who started out 3-11 from the field and 0-2 from the line in the first half, struggled until late in the 3rd quarter when he nailed back-to-back-to-back 3’s to end the quarter. Asik (7-10 from the field) was everything Pelicans’ fans hoped for and more, holding down the paint with 5 blocks and many, many more altered, plus cleaning up the boards with 17 rebounds. Man, it feels good to have him instead of Stiemsma. Davis (10-22 from the field), who calmly claimed he had an “ok” night, missing a couple easy ones and some FT’s, put up a 26-17-9-3-2 stat line, something that hasn’t been done by any player in NBA history outside of Hakeem Olajuwon. Oh, and about those 9 blocks, through all those he managed to pick up only 1 foul. 1 foul to 9 blocks . . . .

Apart from Asik and Davis, who shot a combined 17-32 (53.1%), the team went 24-69 (34.7%).  Fortunately, Davis, Asik, and Anderson were there to clean up those misses all night (9, 7, and 7 offensive rebounds respectively).  As a whole, scoring 101 points on 101 shots is obviously not very good, but it isn’t every night you see your team go 15-31 from the free throw line and 4-17 from deep (especially when you have Fredette and Anderson missing wide open looks).  Whether it was just nerves or not, the fact that the Pelicans won so convincingly without having to really shoot well is a sign of good things to come.  It really looks as if this team can beat you in multiple ways, a true sign of a playoff team.

 

Other notes:

  • Fredette and Rivers: The duo played decent minutes (18 and 20 minutes respectively) and together. I’m curious to see if this continues or if we will see more staggered rotations from Monty. Jimmer and Austin make sense together, but will it translate from on paper to on the court? Jimmer shot 0-6, and Rivers just 2-5. Holiday only logged 27 because of his injury so I expect less play from one of these two Saturday.
  • Ajinca didn’t see the court until garbage time either, which I thought interesting, as well.  So far, preseason and Tuesday included, he has only missed one shot.  Not that it is really telling or anything as he is only taking about 2 shots a game, but he hasn’t looked bad at all and should be a good 4th big should foul trouble force us to look toward the bench.

 

All in all, the Pelicans aren’t going to see many days with shooting that poor, especially FT shooting (last season the Pels shot 76.9% from the line for the season, good for 11th in the league).  The fact that they managed over 100 points on a 40.6%, 23.5%, and 48.4% night is very impressive, and I look forward to seeing the Pels put up massive numbers this year as the team settles in.

Of course, if the team does not shoot a little better tonight . . .

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