After winning their first two summer league games, the New Orleans Pelicans lost to the San Antonio Spurs in their third, 86-88. Free throw shooting seemed to be key in this game, as the Spurs missed two as a team combined, and the Pelican’s missed 15, shooting 15 of 30 from the charity stripe. Courtney Fells looked to dominate the game once again, scoring 14 points in the first half; however, Fells would only finish with 19, and struggled at times in the second half of play.
Some other observations:
- Russ Smith seemed to impress, while also making it clear that there is much more to be desired from the rookie if he is going to make an impact on the team during the regular season. While he posted a nice stat line of 14 points, 10 assists, and five rebounds, he routinely showed that his decision making ability needed much work, and was bailed out on multiple bad passes made throughout the game. Also of note for Smith, through the first two games of the tournament, he averaged the most turnovers of any player at six per game.
- DeQuan Jones impressed yet again on the offensive end, scoring 20 points on eight shots, while going 9 of 13 from the free throw line. Jones continually got to the line by driving to the basket, something that could translate well to play on the big stage. If Jones continues to play efficiently as he has throughout summer league, he could be looking at a roster spot down the road.
- After two great games from the duo of Jeff Withey and Patrick Young, the two scored only 10 points, and grabbed only 11 rebounds combined in 52 combined minutes of play. While they made their impact on the defensive end of the floor outside of the stat sheet, the impact inside of it tonight was just as noticeable.
- Josh Howard did not impress, scoring only two points, and grabbing four rebounds, he seemed to be a non factor in this game. On the defensive end of the floor, he was slow on rotations, hesitant to pressure the ball, and seemed to not be engaged at any point in time. On the offensive end, Howard shot the ball only 3 times, yet was almost unnoticeable . In a nutshell, he is continuing to prove to us that he is not ready, nor does it seem he ever will be, ready for an NBA comeback.
- Despite signing with the team at the end of last season, James Southerland seems to be the player least likely to make the roster come the start of this season. The coaches played him for just shy of five minutes, and while on the floor, did not score, did not play much defense, and committed a foul. Not your ideal outing for someone trying to make a team that is hoping to retool it’s roster.
The Pelican’s next game has yet to be announced. We will update as soon as the playoff schedule is released for the Las Vegas Summer League Playoffs.