The Pelicans sixth preseason game went somewhat as expected. With Jrue Holiday limited to 15 minutes, the offense was going to rest on the shoulders of Nate Robinson and Bo Calebb. For the game, the Pelicans finished with 10 assists versus 22 turnovers.
New Orleans didn't push the ball up the floor as quickly as Alvin Gentry would have preferred and the half-court offense largely relied on isolation plays. Thanks to individual athleticism, the Pelicans remained in the game on the strength of foul shots. They attempted a staggering 51 from the charity stripe with Anthony Davis (19), Eric Gordon (12) and Holiday (8) doing most of the heavy lifting.
After scoring 58 points in the first half, the Pelicans managed only 43 in the second. Six minutes from Holiday, Ryan Anderson fouling out and Gordon going cold deserve a good deal of the blame.
Still, with 22.4 seconds left in regulation, the Pelicans had a chance to win the game and it appeared Gentry intended as such. However, Gordon was well covered on the final play and Davis was rescued by the referees on a tough jumpshot with two free throws that sent the game to overtime.
Nate Robinson, who played surprisingly well after I bemoaned him on social media, got the scoring going in the extra period. However, the Pelicans failed to score for the next four minutes and thus dug themselves too deep of hole to escape with a win.
Davis led the way with 33 points, 16 rebounds, 5 blocks and a steal; however, to those who watched or listened, it was obvious his jumpshot didn't make it to Orlando. He shot 33% from the field and missed both of his three-point attempts.
As mentioned, Anderson fouled out in just 25 minutes of action. He scored 11 points, hit 3 threes and grabbed 6 rebounds. Holiday added 12 in his 15 minutes and Gordon chipped in 14.
Nate Robinson finished with 18 points and made his final five shots. However, towards the end of the 4th quarter, we bore witness to Classic Nate. Trailing by 6 points with 1:27 remaining, Robinson drilled two threes to tie things up within a span of 36 seconds. Although he made a variety of errors, namely defensively, before his scoring binge, I'm willing to bet he wrapped up one of the two remaining vacant roster spots.
The other most likely belongs to Bryce Dejean-Jones. For weeks, Gentry has stated the final two games will reflect regular season minutes and rotations. With all the recent injuries, tonight was a challenge, but with Jones playing 15 minutes to Sean Kilpatrick / Chris Douglas-Roberts zero, he appears the odds on favorite. Especially since he played well and looked like he belonged. I was hoping he'd get one more appearance as Cunningham and Gee provided nothing offensively, but alas, the rookie sat through crunch time.
In a couple of days, the Pelicans will wrap up their preseason schedule against the Miami Heat at the Smoothie King Center. Obviously wins and losses matter little, but it would be nice to see the offense and the pace of the game more to Gentry's liking.