New Orleans Pelicans: 3 positive takeaways from the loss to the Heat

CJ McCollum #3 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
CJ McCollum #3 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Pelicans lost their first game of the preseason to the Miami Heat last night but the big news was Zion Williamson leaving the game.

You can relax for now New Orleans, as it appears Zion is fine after rolling his ankle on a play that was actually a lot nastier than it initially looked. Zion says he’s fine and so does the team, but we’ve been down that road before, so hope to see him back and unscathed in the preseason finale.

Aside from the loss and the anxiety about Zion Williamson, there were some positives to come out of this game for the New Orleans Pelicans.

New Orleans Pelicans: Positives from the loss to the Heat

CJ McCollum is back

CJ McCollum played his first game of the preseason, scoring three points in 18 minutes as he tried to knock the rust off. McCollum has been dealing with a sore ankle and went just 1-of-7 from the field, but it was good to see him back in the starting lineup.

The Pels are inching closer to having their full roster, though they still haven’t seen Brandon Ingram in action and Jaxson Hayes will be out for a few weeks at least with an elbow injury.

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Ingram said he hopes to play on Friday, which would give the Pels’ starting five a chance to play together, depending of course on the status of Zion.

All Pels’ fans just want to see this full team together at some point this season, as they just can’t seem to catch a break with injuries.

Trey Murphy III stays hot

After nailing 7-of-10 from 3-point range against the Pistons on his way to 27 points, TMIII had another good night shooting from behind the arc, hitting 4-of-9 and scoring 15 points overall in 24 minutes against the Heat.

TMIII has been instructed to let it fly by coach Willie Green and so far it is paying off, as Murphy III has led the Pels in scoring in the preseason, and has hit 56 percent of his 3-point shots. He’s been shooting more than seven per game, which is right where New Orleans needs him to be, as his shooting can really help take the offense to another level this season.

Murphy III has looked great in a two-man game with Zion and the two are forming nice chemistry around his shooting and Zion’s passing out of double teams.

Some bench standouts

Both Jose Alvarado and Naji Marshall were active as always and scored in double digits for the Pelicans in the loss to the Heat.

Alvarado has been noticeably more aggressive on offense, breaking down defenses with his dribble penetration and looking for his own shot. He’s averaged 12.5 points per game in the preseason and is looking more like an offensive weapon and not just a defensive specialist.

Naji has also averaged more than 12 per game in the preseason, but more importantly has shot 48 percent from the field and has been active defensively. Now if he would just stop shooting 3-point shots…

The Pelicans have one more preseason contest and we hope to see the full starting lineup as they ramp up to the regular season.

Next. 3 Pelicans who may not finish the season in New Orleans. dark