[Editor's Note: Please welcome Jamile Dunn to the Masthead with his first article!]
So what did we learn? The Pelicans finally had their much anticipated showdown with Dallas Mavericks. Right from the beginning the Mavericks looked like the more veteran team. While there was plenty to dislike I left the game more encouraged than discouraged about the team.
- Tyreke Freaking Evans! I'm about to tell you what you already know. Good things happen when the Pelicans put the ball in Tyreke's hands. Reke posted scored 22pts sinking 8 of his 19 shots. He also poured in 10 rebounds and 9 assist. Evans carried the Pelicans in the third quarter scoring 17 of his 22 points during the period. My only worry about his performance is that he will fall in love with his jumper. It was spot on last night but I doubt that is sustainable; hopefully he proves me wrong.
- Anthony Davis. That is all.
- Jrue Holiday came alive after a so-so performance in the opener. Holiday was the only New Orleans perimeter player who even had a prayer of staying in front of Monta Ellis. Doc Holiday (that's a thing i'm trying to start) was also efficient offensively scoring 24pts on 52% shooting to go with his 6ast.
- Monty's suit. I'm generally not a fan of Monty's dress but tonight was the exception. Monty sported a tan suit with a light purple shirt and a striped purple tie. I wasn't totally in love with the outfit (the tie especially) but I grade Monty's wardrobe on a curve.
- Perimeter defense. As I alluded to in the good section, the perimeter D was downright awful at times, particularly in the first half. Pretty much every perimeter defender not nicknamed Doc Holiday allowed the Mavs guards to shred the Pelicans defense leaving shooters wide open behind the arc. Luckily for the Pels the Mavericks only shot 24% from three.
- The return of Monty's beloved hard hedge. Hoping this isn't a sign of things to come.
- The Pelicans clearly have not learned how to finish close games. The Mavericks veteran savvy was the difference in the game. Dallas shot 52% in the fourth quarter compared to the Pelicans 22%. New Orleans also turned the ball over seven times in the fourth quarter. The Pels simply looked confused and rushed when Dallas locked in on defense for the final stretch. As the season progresses I expect the Pelicans to improve in this area as roles begin to define themselves.
- John Salmons needs to be cut or thrown into a trade. He provides zero defense, zero offense, and owns a goatee only James Harden could love.
- So where do I start? Over the 66 minutes he's played during the first two games Gordon has almost as many turnovers (7) as he does points (8). His defense has been awful and he looks lost on offense. It's only two games in but if this continues Monty will need to seriously think about starting Rivers at two guard and bringing Gordon off the bench. Rivers can at least provide better defense; placing him in the starting lineup might also boost his trade value.
- Eric Gordon's Contract.
- Side Note. Despite his petulance, I've so badly wanted to like Eric Gordon during his time in New Orleans. This is mainly because one of my favorite past times is nicknaming players (Kenny "I can't keep" Stills, Brandin "Captain" Cooks, Jrue "Doc" Holiday....I could go on for days). If Gordon ever got his you know what together I could proudly dub him "Commissioner" Gordon. Sigh.....What happens to a dream deferred ?