3 things we learned from the Pelicans’ dismantling of Clippers
The New Orleans Pelicans put the smack down on the Clippers in the second half yesterday on their way to a big win on the road.
New Orleans only allowed 39 points to the Clippers in the second half and finished with a 112-91 victory in which they simply overwhelmed LA with talent, depth and relentless effort.
This is a brutal stretch of the schedule and the Pels are shorthanded, so getting a win against one of the preseason title favorites is huge, not just in the standings, but for their overall confidence.
The Clippers were also shorthanded and are playing poorly, so this was a good time to catch them, but that doesn’t take away from an impressive win for New Orleans.
Here are three things we learned watching the Pelicans dismantle LA in the second half.
New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson is more than just a scorer
In Zion Williamson’s last full season in the NBA, he was made into a point forward and the entire offense revolved around him getting to the rim. It was predictable, easy to plan for and ended with Zion taking a ton of hard fouls.
But with better teammates around him, Zion doesn’t have to lead the team in scoring every night and he seems to have bought into this philosophy of sharing. He led the team with seven assists last night and added 12 boards in one of his best all-around games in a long time.
Willie Green preaches sharing the basketball, which is probably a new thing for Zion, but him being unselfish makes this offense even more difficult to stop.
Larry Nance Jr. was a huge acquisition
Fans were rightfully ecstatic when the Pelicans traded for CJ McCollum last season, but the underrated part of that trade was that Larry Nance Jr. came with him.
Nance Jr. had 15 points, nine rebounds, three assists and a steal on 7-of-9 shooting last night and his effort off the bench was a huge part of the victory.
His value goes well beyond numbers though as he is a versatile defender who can play all over the court, which has helped the Pelicans overcome some of their early-season injuries. He is also a steady veteran who leads the defense when he is out there and mentors the young guys, which you love to see.
He’s already making a big splash in the community as well, so the Larry Nance Jr. acquisition was huge both on and off the court for New Orleans.
The Pelicans are deep and unselfish
We’ve talked about the Pels’ depth a lot this season, as they’ve been able to start off 4-2 even though they’ve rarely had all of their players available.
It’s a huge advantage in the grueling regular season to have guys who can step in and have big games when your stars are out. The Pelicans have a lot of guys who can beat you, and the best part is that they are all unselfish.
The Pels had six players in double figures last night and racked up 32 assists as a team to just 10 turnovers, which is a recipe for success. Players aren’t out there chasing individual stats and everyone makes the extra pass to get the best possible shot.
There were several possessions last night where everyone touched the ball, and worked it around until they found a good shot instead of forcing something. This not only makes their offense tough to stop, but keeps everyone engaged throughout the game.
Coach Willie Green has this team playing hard and unselfishly and it was a beautiful thing to watch last night as they picked the Clippers apart in the second half.