The New Orleans Pelicans played well at times in CJ McCollum’s first game, but were ultimately beaten by the Miami Heat, snapping their four-game winning streak.
The Pels played the Heat close before coming out flat in the 3rd quarter and not having the legs to come back after getting down by as many 15 points.
The half court offense looked clunky at times, which you’d expect, as McCollum has barely met his new teammates and will take some time to acclimate.
It’s far too early to judge the results, especially against a very good Heat team that is currently leading the Eastern Conference, and there were some good moments along the way.
The Pels had no answer for Bam Adebayo or Jimmy Butler, who scored 29 points apiece and were ultimately undone by 17 turnovers and the 22 points the Heat scored off of them.
The offense will get more fluid with time and New Orleans looked great at times (especially in the 2nd quarter) but here are some early takeaways from McCollum’s first game.
CJ McCollum’s first game with the Pelicans
I thought the first game went well overall even though McCollum had a rough night shooting.
He made just 2-of-10 from 3-point range and did look out of rhythm in the Pels’ offense at times. He also missed several wide-open looks, shots that he has made for his entire career, so I am confident he’ll make 40 percent of them over time because he always has.
The interesting part was that McCollum took 21 shots and Brandon Ingram only took 12, something that I am sure will balance over time, especially when Ingram doesn’t have two defenders like Butler and Adebayo shadowing him.
As Ingram and McCollum learn how to play off of each other, they should be able to create a lot of good shots for themselves and their teammates. CJ had an off night but you can already see the fit and once this team is at full strength this offense will be tough to stop.
But trading two rotation players for one has caused some depth issues for the New Orleans Pelicans.