Jul 18, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Miami Heat guard Tony Taylor dribbles the ball through center court as the first quarter of play begins against the Chicago Bulls during an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavillion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Summer League Recap: New Orleans Pelicans 75-Charlotte Hornets 104

The New Orleans Pelicans are out of the running for the Las Vegas Summer League championship, as they went down to the Charlotte Hornets 104-75.  The Hornets started hot, taking a 34-13 lead after one quarter of play. The Pelicans brought the deficit to 12 at halftime, yet Charlotte caught hot again in the third quarter and held off the Pelicans late surges the rest of the way. Russ Smith and Courtney Fells lead the way for the Pelicans with 19 points each.

Some other observations:

  • Russ Smith is showing some great promise all around in summer league. Smith racked up 19 points, six assists, five rebounds, one steal and four turnovers. Smith’s aggression early kept the Pelicans in the game, and was much more comfortable driving into the lane on the shorter Charlotte defenders. Smith still has a lot of work to do to get to his NBA potential, yet has made a great statement with his performance this summer league for New Orleans.
  • Jeff Withey and Patric Young did some solid things inside the paint on defense, yet struggled to get any kind of rhythm going on the offensive end. While they combined for nine rebounds and four blocks, they only managed a combined five points and turned the ball over four times. Even with the offensive struggles, both players have played fantastic in the paint through four games. Withey will be back with the Pelicans this year and Young is guaranteed to get a contract either with New Orleans or another team with his play this summer.
  • Courtney Fells’ hot shooting might be the biggest surprise of the Summer League for the Pelicans. Fells shot 8-15 from the field and 3-6 from behind the three-point line for 19 points, along with three rebounds and two steals versus the Hornets. Fells’ lights out shooting has been a diamond in the rough for the Pelicans. His fearless shot might pay off very well for him, as his performance is sure to get a camp invite.
  • DeQuan Jones had a much quieter game than his previous outings in Las Vegas. Jones finished the game with six points on 1-4 shooting, along with three turnovers and 1 rebound. He was pushed around by Hornets Forward Justin Brownlee all game, and failed to make much of an impact in this game. However, he has been solid through four games as a whole, and could make the Pelicans roster this season with the glaring hole at small forward in New Orleans.
  • Veteran Josh Howard did not play in the game. Howard’s minutes have been decent through the first three games, yet saw no playing time in the Pelicans’ playoff game. While his offensive output was a positive for the Pelicans at certain times, his lack of a defensive presence and his pattern of racking up fouls quickly may well have hurt his chances of getting into an NBA roster this season.
  • Josh Carter struggled with his long range touch following his marksmanship performance versus the Spurs. Carter shot 0-4 from behind the three-point line and managed four points in the game, along with an assist and a turnover. He’s been a bit quiet  through summer league and with the plethora of guards in the current Pelicans rotation, will probably miss out on New Orleans’ NBA roster.

The Pelicans get back at it Friday night as they play the Minnesota Timberwolves at 7 p.m. CST.

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