The New Orleans Pelicans entered halftime of their season opener with just a seven point lead against the Orlando Magic. The team’s starting back court had struggled a bit to shoot the ball but thanks to the play of Anthony Davis and Omer Asik the Pelicans had enough to be ahead. While the guards never really got going great in the second half Ryan Anderson joined Davis and Asik in the dominating category and the Pelicans cruised in the second half to a 101-84 victory. Davis was the stay with 26 points, 17 rebounds, nine blocks, three steals and two assists but the team in general clearly looked better than Orlando, a nice sign early on in the year.
Holiday struggled shooting a bit but never really forced anything. He really did most of his work on the defensive end of the floor where he made life very hard on Elfrid Payton and the rest of the Magic guards. The shooting will come around, especially as he gets more used to playing off the ball while Tyreke Evans creates out of the pick-and-roll. The defense salvages the grade for Jrue." >
JRUE HOLIDAYPG, New Orleans Pelicans
8 points, 4-11 FG, 0-3 3PT, 4 assists, 2 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block, 2 turnovers
Holiday struggled shooting a bit but never really forced anything. He really did most of his work on the defensive end of the floor where he made life very hard on Elfrid Payton and the rest of the Magic guards. The shooting will come around, especially as he gets more used to playing off the ball while Tyreke Evans creates out of the pick-and-roll. The defense salvages the grade for Jrue.
ERIC GORDONSG, New Orleans Pelicans
8 points, 3-8 FG, 1-2 3PT, 1-3 FT, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers
Like Holiday, Gordon struggled to shoot the ball a bit but there was still stuff to like. Gordon got to the rim when he could, didn’t try to do too much and even added a few blocks. The shooting should come around, if the rest of the stuff stays the Pelicans have something really good.
TYREKE EVANSSF/PG/SG, New Orleans Pelicans
12 points, 5-15 FG, 0-1 3PT, 2-5 FT, 6 assists, 9 rebounds
Evans did exactly what everyone hoped for him to do on offense. He attacked out of the pick-and-roll, found teammates for open looks, continuously went hard to the rim and ran in transition when he could. Defensively Evans wasn’t great, but with Asik and Davis behind him he doesn’t have to be. If he attacks this way all season stopping this offense is going to be almost impossible.
ANTHONY DAVISPF/C, New Orleans Pelicans
26 points, 10-22 FG, 6-9 FT, 2 assists, 17 rebounds, 3 steals, 9 blocks, 0 turnovers
He dunked, he made jumpers, he blocked shots, he grabbed rebounds. Anthony Davis just flat out dominated everything. We all knew that Davis was one of the best players in the NBA entering the season but for him to burst onto the scene like this is amazing. Davis put up numbers that have only been put up four times in NBA history, all by Hakeem Olajuwon. That isn’t bad company.
OMER ASIKC, New Orleans Pelicans
14 points, 7-10 FG, 0-3 FT, 2 assists, 17 rebounds, 5 blocks, 3 turnovers
Davis is going to steal all the headlines but Asik’s debut in New Orleans was a resounding success. He was constantly in front of the rim on both ends of the floor to clean up mistakes and when he did catch the ball on offense he finished. If he can keep up the effort on defense he had tonight Anthony Davis is going to have a few more nine block games.
RYAN ANDERSONPF/SF, New Orleans Pelicans
22 points, 9-22 FG, 3-6 3PT, 1-3 FT, 9 rebounds
It was terrific to see Ryan Anderson back on an NBA court in regular season action. While the shooting wasn’t consistent it was Anderson’s barrage of three-pointers at the end of the third quarter that seemed to put the game out of reach. The looks he got were consistently good looks so expect those to start falling. The seven offensive rebounds were also a huge part of the Pelicans domination despite being so bad from the foul line.
AUSTIN RIVERSPG/SG, New Orleans Pelicans
7 points, 2-5 FG, 0-2 3PT, 3-6 FT, 3 assists, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 0 turnovers
Rivers was solid though unspectacular tonight. He attacked fine out of the pick-and-roll when he needed to create offense, spotted-up when he needed too and gave an effort on defense. It wasn’t always great at that end of the floor but for 20 minutes it wasn’t a disaster. With how good the Pelicans top six are, that is really all the team needs from him. Also, his find of Ryan Anderson at the end of the third quarter for the final three was terrific patience and something that we don’t always see from Rivers.
JIMMER FREDETTEPG/SG, New Orleans Pelicans
2 points, 0-6 FG, 0-3 3PT, 2-2 FT, 2 assists, 1 steal, 0 turnovers
I didn’t mind the shots that Jimmer took tonight but when your job is to make shots, you need to make shots for a good grade. He took a charge in transition that was nice and did a good job fighting over screens but to be most effective he needs to make shots. Tonight he didn’t.
JOHN SALMONSSF, New Orleans Pelicans
0 points, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3PT, 0- FT, 1 assists, 2 rebound, 3 fouls
Other random thoughts:
- This front line is incredible. Whenever the Pelicans needed a basket either Asik, Davis or Anderson seemed to come up with it. Sometimes it was an Asik or Davis dunk, sometimes it was an Anderson tip or three. Whatever it was it worked. This is the strength for New Orleans and will win them a ton of games. Tonight was just the first time.
- No Luke Babbitt was a strange choice. I don’t understand what John Salmons does to earn minutes but apparently it is something as Monty went to him twice. We will see how long it continues when Salmons keeps being awful.
- When the guards on this team make open looks they missed tonight there will be no stopping them.
- Anthony Davis is really, really fun.