E’Twaun Moore lifting New Orleans Pelicans with veteran offensive grace

Only playing inconsistent minutes earlier this season for the New Orleans Pelicans, E’Twaun Moore is giving Alvin Gentry edge in expanded opportunities.

Finally showing signs of life after a rugged start to the 2019-2020 NBA season, the New Orleans Pelicans are surging, winning four straight games heading into the new decade, thanks in no small part to the expanded minutes for E’Twaun Moore.

More and more often, head coach Alvin Gentry has been able to trust Moore to come into a game and get key buckets for this young Pelicans core.

Last night in a 127-112 win to close the decade against the Houston Rockets, Moore was a key offensive factor for the Pelicans, scoring 14 of his 25 points in the fourth, while going 5-of-9 from three. He also grabbed 4 rebounds, posted 3 assists, and stole one ball away.

When the Pelicans needed him most, Moore delivered time and time again, helping this team carry its wonderfully positive momentum into the new year, especially as the team now has five full days of rest before they’ll play again.

Earlier in the season, Alvin Gentry continually opted for younger players like Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Josh Hart to carry the team’s bench offense, but it left the Pelicans with too young of a front to compete against veteran lineups.

However, those players haven’t been able to deliver the same kind of minutes as Moore, who only averages 0.6 turnovers per game. Moore’s floor spacing ability allows more competent ball handlers to keep him away from defensive pressure, thus creating better ball flow as a whole.

Since Moore saw an uptick in minutes beginning with an 18-minute outing against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the New Orleans Pelicans have won five-of-six contests while continuing to look like a renewed lifeforce on defense.

In all four of the New Orleans Pelicans consecutive wins, Moore has played at least 19 minutes, scored at least 10 points, and shot at least 50% from three on 5.8 attempts during the stretch.

Contributing heavily to the four-game win streak, Moore is averaging 14.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2 assists per game while shooting 56.5% from three-point range.

When the team struggled in their 102-106 loss to the Golden State Warriors in their lone loss during the last six games, Moore played just 5 minutes and took one shot from three; looks like they could’ve used Uncle E in that one.

Continually, Uncle E is helping this New Orleans Pelicans team win in key spots, not just in mop-up minutes.

On the season, it’s been a pretty performance for the 30-year-old shooting guard entering his third year with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Moore is averaging 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists while shooting 43.2% from three-point range on 3.7 attempts per contest. He’s played in 22 games and made 3 starts for New Orleans so far this year.

However, what’s really made Moore such a positive for this team is his ability to bury timely buckets, which has been on full display over his last six Pelicans performances.

One of the benefits of being a nine-year veteran is that the NBA is just less intimidating for someone like E’Twaun, who is shooting 43.3% in the fourth quarter this season.

Since the Pelicans started playing better basketball, much of the praise has been heaped onto the team’s defensive renaissance, but less attention is currently being paid to the much more consistent basketball being played by this team in the fourth quarter.

Around the New Orleans Pelicans locker room, the praise continues to be heaped onto Moore, who’s playing some of the best basketball of his career over the past couple of weeks.

“When E’Twaun plays, we win,” Jrue Holiday matter-of-factly said to ESPN‘s Andrew Lopez when the Pelicans started the streak.

Last night, E’Twaun Moore explained how he’s been mentally creating as a spacing option, which is usually a question the media reserves for J.J. Redick on the day of the Pelicans win.

“I tried to move and tried to stay active. They did a good job of switching low and up, so I tried to stay active and keep moving…try to get them to lose me in between. I got some open shots and was knocking them down,” Moore told New Orleans Pelicans media personnel.

Becoming a key to this Pelicans bench, E’Twaun Moore is just going to keep seeing more minutes as long as his floor pacing potency continues; he’s simply been too important not to have on the floor as this team crawls back into the playoff hunt.

While he’s one of the oldest players on the team, Moore is quickly turning one of the most important players on the New Orleans Pelicans roster for his ability to help this team find their groove in the clutch.

Next: Ingram making clear All-Star case

The New Orleans Pelicans are currently in the midst of a youth movement, but even they’ll admit that the veterans are just as big of a part of this year’s team, for developmental and for winning reasons; E’Twaun Moore is just giving that case more legitimacy.

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