The New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Miami Heat 93-90 in the last preseason game for both teams. Anthony Davis finished with 25 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and five blocks. For Miami, Gerald Green finished with 24 points and five rebounds. The Pelicans finish with a preseason record of 3-4, while the Heat finished with a 4-4 record.
Next time the New Orleans Pelicans play, the games will count. The Pelicans are banged up and it's a bit of a damper on the start of the regular season. Anthony Davis is going to have to carry this roster as they wait on the return of Tyreke Evans, Quincy Pondexter, Alexis Ajinca, Omer Asik and Norris Cole to the rotation.
Nothing against Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday, but Davis will have to carry the Pels some nights, especially opening the season up with two games in October against the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
There were small things that disappointed me, like Alonzo Gee's play and inability to hit threes this preseason, but for the most part, the Pelicans went in, got the victory, and left. With most of their big players on the mend, that's just fine. Miami did play some of their good players. Chris Bosh finished with 19 points and five rebounds, Dwyane Wade got 11 points in 26 minutes and Hassan Whiteside had 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Gerald Green decided to throw down some impressive dunks, en route to a solid game and a reminder that the Heat got a steal when they signed him for the minimum. The Heat rookies also performed well. Josh Richardson mixed it up defensively on the perimeter and Justise Winslow did all of the little things, finishing with eight points, five rebounds and three steals.
Of the things to look at, I guess Dante Cunningham's performance sits at the top: six points and 10 rebounds. He had a couple good defensive possessions, highlighted by a steal and fast break dunk. He doesn't shoot threes well (even though he made his third one of the preseason) and he's undersized for PF, but I think the best place for Cunningham is at the four next to Davis at the five with surrounding shooters to cover his inability for the long-ball on offense.
And here's some notes:
I think the Pelicans should keep Bryce Dejean-Jones. He's a fine representation of what New Orleans need on the back of the roster: youth. He's not great, but he showed the ability to space the floor and defend a little bit. He might not ever do anything other than shoot at an above-average level, but I would take the chance and see.
With Tyreke Evans and Norris Cole on the shelf, I'm interested to see what the Pelicans do with the point guard spot. Jrue Holiday is on a minutes restriction, leaving Bo McCalebb and Nate Robinson, potentially, dealing the rest. I'm not going to explain why that's a problem. It just is.
Anthony Davis with a 25-15-5-5. The jumper looked good, he was attacking Hassan Whiteside with moderate success and he was sending shots back with relative ease. The MVP season is just days away, folks.
I'm curious to see what Ryan Anderson does this season. Against Miami, Anderson had 10 points and seven rebounds. You saw some of the things that made him a good player - the ability to space the floor and take advantage of smaller players by driving and posting on them. You need the bench scoring, but I think Alvin Gentry should consider Anderson and Davis as the 4-5 until Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca return.
Jrue Holiday with 10 points and four assists. I don't know what the plan is after the All-Star break, but hopefully it's Holiday getting a minutes jump. His ability to orchestrate the offense and be a factor on defense is huge for New Orleans.
Excited for contract-year Eric Gordon. He's going to have to do quite a bit until the Pelicans can get healthy in the backcourt and I think he's going to flourish in the second half. 22 points on 6-17 shooting (4-10 from three), four rebounds and two assists.
Not sure why Jeff Adrien didn't play, but I'll say this: Adrien has always been good whenever he plays. Personally, I think he can play in this league and on this roster. I would keep him and Alonzo Gee as energy guys on the back of the roster.