At the end of the first half, the Pelicans held a slim margin over the Kings, 61-58. This fact is particularly impressive considering Sacramento allotted the majority of their minutes tonight to key contributors. Case in point, DeMarcus Cousins would go on to foul out of the game.
It was the Kings final preseason game so they played most of the regular rotation as much as possible. Alvin Gentry has stated numerous times that he plans on doing something similar in the Pelicans final two games of the exhibition season.
Thus, New Orleans took something not too far off from the Kings best shot without Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon, Omer Asik, Quincy Pondexter, Alexis Ajinca, Luke Babbitt and Norris Cole. This was quite evident in the third quarter. The Kings opened up the 2nd half on a 9-2 run and then finished the 3rd quarter on a 7-0 run.
After that, the finish of the game should have been elementary, but with less than 2 minutes to go, the Pelicans found themselves down only 4 points following a Sean Kilpatrick three-pointer. The problem, though, was all the inexperience out on the floor decided to catch up with the team during the waning moments. A Jeff Adrien turnover ended up being all she wrote.
So please, let's not harp over too much of what occurred after halftime. The first half, and in particular the first quarter, went better than expected. Chris Douglas-Roberts, after a terrible game in Chicago, scored a quick 9 points as a starter in the first quarter (too bad his name was never heard from again).
In his only action of the game, Jrue Holiday scored 4 points, dished out 4 assists, and added another steal/block in the first frame. Without a doubt, he looks ready to provide a whole lot more if only his leash were slackened. Smartly, it seems the Pelicans will not abide.
In the first half, Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson paced New Orleans with 15 and 14 points respectively, and both players connected on a pair of three-pointers. Davis has now made 5 of 8 on the year while Anderson has now converted 6 of his last 12. Don't expect AD to suddenly curb his enthusiasm from the outside either.
Anthony Davis on shooting 3s (he's 5/8 in preseason): "Coach (Gentry) wants me to put 'em up. He says if you're open, shoot it."— Jim Eichenhofer (@Jim_Eichenhofer) October 18, 2015
To add some further sunshine, Gentry claims Anderson still hasn't found his groove yet.
Gentry: "We still aren't playing Ryan the way we will in the regular season.. It'll be easier for him"— Kumar (@FearTheBrown) October 18, 2015
Newcomers, Bo McCalebb and Nate Robinson combined for 13 points (on 6-15 from the floor), 5 assists, 1 rebound and 2 turnovers in 37 minutes. Meh, but not unexpected when they were likely barbecuing among friends and family earlier in the week.
After scoring 23 points in Chicago, Kilpatrick cooled considerably: 6 points on 2-10 from the field (1-7 from three). After sitting against the Bulls, Jeff Adrien led New Orleans with 8 rebounds.
Up next, the Pelicans travel to Houston to face the Rockets on Monday. Hopefully, Evans second opinion on his knee comes back fine and Gordon's back spasms become a bad memory. With the regular season a mere 10 days away, it's time for the rotation to start gelling.