The New Orleans Pelicans kick off their season with a convincing 111-104 road victory against their Southwest Division rival Memphis Grizzlies.
While we clearly looked like the better team against the hobbled Grizzlies, we still had our ups and downs. But overall, there was a lot to be excited about as we look to build off this win moving forward in the 2023-24 season. With that in mind, here are four takeaways from our season opener.
Takeaway #1: Zion got stronger with time.
We’ve discussed this before, but the Grizzlies are naturally a good counter to our offense. The reason for this is their ability to pack the paint with bodies and suffocate Zion Williamson’s driving lanes. In his two games against them last season, Williamson was held to 17 PPG on 51.1% True Shooting.
And even without Steven Adams, Brandon Clarke, and Santi Aldama, that trend continued for most of Wednesday’s game. Through three quarters, Williamson was held to 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting.
However, in the fourth quarter, Williamson erupted for 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting. It is worth noting that most of these buckets came from post-ups/putbacks rather than drives. He also had some rough decision-making and defensive moments throughout the night. But overall, it was still nice to see him find his rhythm. Hopefully, he can ride that momentum into our next game against the New York Knicks.