Recap: Pelicans take down Pacers 110-105

Published: October 4, 2015

Your New Orleans Pelicans started the preseason off with a bang. Anthony Davis and Luke Babbitt led the Pelicans with 18 and 16 points apiece, while Paul George poured in 18 for the opponents. While the game wasn’t televised locally by either team, footage was available on International League Pass. Kudos to the readers abroad who alerted me of this. Now lets take a look at watching points we highlighted before the game.

Eric Gordon

Gordon finished the game with 16 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals on 4-13 shooting in 22 minutes. With Tyreke out, and Jrue only playing 10 minutes, EJ was expected to get a lot of touches. Sure enough, he finished with a usage rate of 26.3% – a rate higher than he has seen in years. Gordon struggled from the field but managed to make up for it by drawing 8 free throws. One of the things Clipper Gordon did well was get to the line a lot, and Gordon was aggressive attacking the basket. In fact, Gordon was getting feisty with the refs on several no calls. I personally haven’t seen him be so vocal about the calls, and his reaction surely would have earned him a tech in the regular season. Nevertheless, Gordon had a productive outing and finished the game as a +5. On the defensive end, Gordon was very active in the passing lanes, notching himself 2 steals and a few more deflections. Monta Ellis, Gordon’s main assignment, finished the game 0-4 with 2 points. Now its unclear how much of that was Gordon and how much of it was the sore back Ellis was playing with, but Gordon’s engagement on defense was evident. Hopefully he keeps it up in the regular season.


To say we played fast would be an understatement. The Pelicans put up 103 shots and played at a pace of 109.5. To put that in perspective, 103 FGA or more only happened 3 times last season in non-overtime games. Gentry stated earlier this summer that he wants to get about a 100 shots per game, and I thought he was speaking in hyperbole. But 103 shots later, I’m sitting in disbelief and Gentry is reiterating in the post game interview that 100 shots was their goal. How did the Pels accomplish this? By a variety of methods. They pushed the ball after collecting rebounds, they had the freedom to shoot on the first good look, and everyone was sprinting to positions in half court sets. The offense itself looked sloppy a lot, but man were we getting shots up. This was my favorite transition play. More please.

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Davis vs George This was perhaps the most anticipated match-up of the game.  Paul George saw his first start at power forward and had perhaps the toughest match-up he could hope for. Sure enough, Davis was looking to utilize his size in the post to make the Pacers pay for going small.  Davis finished with 18 points and 8 rebounds in a touch over 15 minutes. Hello Wilt numbers. There wasn’t much poor George could do to keep him off the offensive glass or stop him from plays like this:

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It’s no wonder that George came out to the media after the game and said, “I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot. I don’t know if this is my position.” But on the flip side, George was a match-up problem himself.  He finished with 18 points himself and looked deadly in the 1-4 and 4-5 pick and roll. You could tell Davis was not accustomed to fighting through screens.

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Perhaps the most impressive player to me was none other than Luke Babbitt. Babbit finished the game with 16 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists in a touch over 28 minutes. After hitting his first few 3’s, defenders started closing Babbitt out hard. Using his patented pump fake, Babbitt was able to put the ball on the floor and create plays for himself and others. He was finishing well at the rim, and drawing contact when not. Perhaps the most noticeable aspects of his game were his sprinting into the correct spots offensively, and making the extra pass to the open man. See for yourself!

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Now, he did play a lot of his minutes against the Pacers’s end of bench players, but he played unselfishly and intelligently. Gentry made a point to recognize Babbitt in the pregame interview, saying Luke is much better than people know. Look for Babbitt to fight for more minutes at both the SF and PF spots.

No other bench player really jumped out at me, and our 10th-15th men really struggled offensively. Offense as a whole looked sloppy, and you can tell the players are adjusting to both the pace and sets. There is giant room for improvement on both ends, but its a good sign we put up a 110 despite the issues. Take from it what you will.



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