Win over Dallas shows 3 reasons Pelicans are title contenders

Trey Murphy III #25 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Trey Murphy III #25 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Pelicans, Jonas Valanciunas
New Orleans Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /

The shorthanded New Orleans Pelicans came out hot and were able to hold on at home against the Dallas Mavericks last night in the Smoothie King Center.

The Pels were missing three starters, as Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, and Herbert Jones were all sitting with various injuries, so New Orleans had to lean on their depth.

The reserves were up to the task, and New Orleans came out and put up 40 points in the first quarter on a stunned Dallas team. The Mavs chipped away all night and made it close, but the Pelicans showed some guts and held on for the shorthanded win against a good team.

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It was a team win in every sense of the word, and though we are only four games into this season, this victory showed why the New Orleans Pelicans are for real.

The NBA is wide open this season, with many teams in both conferences that are legit title contenders, and New Orleans is looking like one of them.

New Orleans Pelicans: No gimmicks

One thing I love about this Pelicans team is that there are no gimmicks. They don’t rely on shooting a ton of 3-point shots or one guy having a huge night.

They have a more old school approach and get it done with defense leading to fast breaks, points in the paint and getting to the free-throw line, things you can rely on night after night.

The Pels play little isolation basketball and everyone shares the ball, which makes them very difficult to game plan for, which will hopefully become a factor in the playoffs this season.

While a lot of teams are increasing their 3-point volume, the Pelicans are going the other direction, instead focusing on getting good shots, and if they happen to be 3-pointers, great, but New Orleans is more interested in getting to the rim for easier shots and fouls.

Defense and effort are there when the shots aren’t falling, and layups and dunks are the best shots you can get. Now it’s just a matter of doing it consistently, and coach Willie Green seems to have his team’s ear in that regard.

This is a style of play that is going to be hard for a lot of teams to stop.