After a tight first game, the New Orleans Pelicans had a much easier time in their second summer league game, taking down the Los Angeles Lakers in a blowout victory 90-73. The Pelicans were on fire from the get-go, scoring 51 first half points on 50% shooting from the field and 41.7% shooting from behind the three-point line. Courtney Fells shined against the Lakers, putting up 25 points on 9-13 shooting and 4-6 from long range. 9 of Fells points came in the fourth quarter to help the Pelicans hold off the Lakers late surge.
Some other observations:
- Courtney Fells was electric all night. His aggression on the offensive end caused all kinds of problems for the Lakers early on. He scored 16 in the first half alone and never stopped attacking Los Angeles, helping him get open looks not just for him but his teammates. His hot shooting helped space the defense out for the rest of the team to get a rhythm on the offensive end. These are the kind of performances Fells needs to continue to have if he wants a spot on an NBA roster next season.
- Patric Young and Jeff Withey both had another fantastic game inside. While their numbers may not stand out on the stat line, they controlled the game inside, and forced the Lakers to generate most of their offense on the perimeter. Young and Withey combined for 22 points, 13 rebounds, five offensive rebounds and two blocks. Patric Young also had the best +/- of any player in the game (+25)
- DeQuan Jones also made a great statement. After missing the first summer league game, Jones showed his efficiency all over, shooting 5-6 from the field to net 14 points along with four rebounds and two steals in just over 19 minutes. He didn’t make eyes pop, yet seemed to do what was needed of him on each possession. Games like this could help him get a spot on the Pelicans roster next year at small forward, a hole New Orleans needs to fill this offseason.
- After a fantastic second half last game, many expected more theatrics from Russ Smith. He had some fantastic passes throughout the night and did a good job finding the open man on his drives, especially when he drove down the middle of the lane and passed to the open shooter in the corner. While Smith finished with eight assists, he struggled to get any kind of rhythm in the game overall. He finished 3-11 from the field, two of those made buckets coming in the final minutes of the game, six turnovers and four rebounds. While there’s flashes of greatness, it’s clear Smith is far from polished and has a lot to learn.
- Josh Howard was quiet throughout the game, only playing 12 minutes, yet showed the same thing we saw last game. He was able to score in his few minutes and did a good job at being in the right spot at the right time to get a few steals. However, Howard seemed to foul too quickly on the defensive end. He struggled again staying in front of his man and needed help from the bigs on multiple occasions. The real question for Howard is still if he can still play defense at an NBA level every night out.
- Arinze Onuaku also played in his first summer league game and had a mixed bag performance. While Young and Withey did the brunt of the damage inside, Onuaku came off the bench and didn’t give the Lakers any breaks. He finished with six points, four rebounds and two steals in 11 minutes, yet also picked up four fouls and turned it over three times in his short stint on the floor. Even with the mistakes, his size made him a tough guard for the Lakers bigs and caused problems on both ends.
The Pelicans return to action Monday night against the San Antonio Spurs at 5:30 p.m. CST
Tags: New Orleans Pelicans