New Orleans scored the first six points of the game against the deep bench of Oklahoma City and did not look back. Thunder coach Scott Brooks elected to start Sebastian Telfair, Jeremy Lamb, Lance Thomas, Perry Jones III, and Stephen Adams. Tyreke Evans made his debut this preseason with the Pelicans starting at shooting guard; Luke Babbitt and his glorious hair joined him in the starting lineup at small forward.
Anthony Davis was amazing, scoring in a wide variety of ways. Tyreke Evans looked healthy throughout, even finishing one baseline drive with a two hand dunk seen at the end of this highlight package from NBA.com. Jrue Holiday was efficient in just 24 minutes of work. Ryan Anderson started a game of H-O-R-S-E in the fourth quarter, draining threes and his patented step back fade away from mid range.
The game was not without its warts though. The Thunder, despite being out manned, found a way to collect 17 offensive rebounds. A 69% defensive rebounding rate will rarely get the job done in the regular season. Another familiar struggle reared its ugly head as Oklahoma City went to the foul line for 31 attempts. Jeff Withey led the way in that regard, racking up three personal fouls in just four minutes.
Eric Gordon, as noted this afternoon, missed the game due to back spasms. The Pelicans will play the Wizards on Monday in Baltimore. That game should be available through your preferred streaming source. Monty Williams might elect to play his starters close to a full load that game before diving deep into the bench against division rival Dallas to close out the preseason.
- Anthony Davis is doing work. Pull ups, drives, getting to the line, you name it. 28 points on 15 FGAs is good in a summer rec league.
- Babbitt scored just six points, making two threes in 18 minutes of work. Efficient yet not prolific can work in the remain roles available in the Pelican rotation.
- Jrue Holiday looked much more comfortable tonight. Not being guarded by Patrick Beverley will do that to a man.
- Tyreke Evans led the team with seven assists in 20 minutes of work. Holiday and Rivers both chipped in five a piece while Jimmer Fredette added four of his own. 30 total team assists tonight is an excellent number.
- One thing that jumps out to me is how quickly the Pelicans are moving from element to element in an offensive set. In the fourth quarter a particular pick and pop with Rivers and Anderson was ineffective on the left side. The ball was reversed and similar action was run on the right side with Anderson and Fredette, resulting in a wide open three for Ryno.
- Evans/Asik pick and rolls are going to be very efficient despite neither player being able to shoot. Evans is a bull with the ball and Asik is significantly better at flipping screen directions and leverage than any New Orleans big man of recent memory. Anthony Davis prowling the baseline in these sets with shooters opening the lane must be a staple of the Pelican diet this season.