Perfect 1st quarter shows how the Pelicans’ pieces fit

Herbert Jones #5 of the New Orleans Pelicans strips the ball from Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers . (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Herbert Jones #5 of the New Orleans Pelicans strips the ball from Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers . (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Pelicans played close to perfect last night in the first quarter against the Clippers and showed what they can be in the process.

The Pels were getting it done on both ends, playing with energy on defense and getting out on the fast break.

They weren’t relying on isolation in the half court, the ball was moving freely, and most importantly, everyone seemed to know their role.

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They won the first quarter 37-22, flashing exciting potential and guys who are going to fit perfectly with Zion Williamson.

The New Orleans Pelicans have the pieces to put around Zion

All season we’ve been saying that we can’t really judge this team without Zion in the lineup.

Not only is he the Pelicans’ best player but the entire roster was constructed to complement his unique game. Take him out, and it doesn’t work.

Last night was an exception, and also showed exactly what the Pelicans will need from each guy.

Devonte’ Graham was making good reads in the pick-and-roll with Jonas Valanciunas, as was Brandon Ingram, who didn’t dribble too much, taking easy mid-range pull ups off two dribbles or making the right pass.

The floor was spread with Jonas Valanciunas hot from the 3-point line and the Pels were able to get some easy back door cuts for Herb Jones.

Josh Hart made some nice plays in the half court and has been much better passing from the high post this season, averaging a career high in assists.

Herb Jones was everywhere, defending several positions, providing energy, making cuts, running the floor and in general making an impact without taking many shots.

The bench brought energy at the end of the 1st quarter with Kira Lewis Jr., Willy Hernangomez and Nickeil Alexander-Walker making plays.

It appears the Pelicans have identified a solid 9-man rotation (including Zion) that all have skills which complement each other.

The Pelicans still have a deep hole to dig out of and they have to show they can play like this on a consistent basis, but it appears they have the right kinds of players to put around their star and players are getting more comfortable in those roles even without him.

Next. Some good things are finally happening for the Pelicans. dark