Monty Williams wasn't too impressed by how New Orleans handled Dwight Howard in the first and third quarters of the Pelicans' opening preseason win against the Rockets. Howard cruised through the lane, forcing both Greg Stiemsma and his replacement, Jason Smith, to pick up 2 fouls in the first quarter of action. It sounds like the starting center job is very much undecided - it could go to Smith, Stiemsma, or Jeff Withey. Of course, who starts and who sits doesn't mean much on the Pelicans, where bench players like Evans and Anderson are expected to log around 30 minutes per game.
Monty was extremely pleased, however, with Austin Rivers's performance, especially how he took the Pelicans down the stretch with Holiday fouled out in the 4th. The only blight on his stat line was, as usual, some poor free throw shooting - he almost gave the game away by missing three of four free throw attempts in the final 20 seconds of the game. I doubt this will be a concern often - it will be very rare to see Rivers closing a game. But since Rivers's effectiveness is predicated on slashing to the rim and generating contact, it's imperative that he learn to knock down his free throws.
Anthony Morrow's astounding performance didn't seem to get top billing in the recaps of the game, but he certainly took advantage of the absence of Evans and Gordon to make a solid case for playing time when (if?) they're both healthy.
The Pelicans waived NBA journeyman Rodney Carney this morning, bringing the roster down to 16. He didn't see any playing time in the preseason game.
New Orleans is on the road in Texas again today, this time facing the Dallas Mavericks and their new-look backcourt featuring Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon. The game will be at 7:30pm CT, but I'm not quite sure how to watch it - the Pelicans' online schedule says it's not being broadcast on either local or national TV.