The fourth seeded Pelicans faced the 20th seeded Wizards in the octofinals of the NBA Las Vegas Summer League tournament. In an interesting sub-plot, head coach Darren Erman was not in attendance. Instead, team assistant coach Robert Pack coached the team. *Spoiler* It didn't matter. The Pelicans won every single quarter tonight.
In the first quarter, Pelicans stormed right out the gates, scoring 25 points.
Larry Drew II came out on fire, scoring passing, and running the offense like a pro. Khem Birch had a monster first quarter. Birch was hustling and got 4 rebounds as a result. Birch had his mid range jumper falling as well, scoring 6 points. Fuquan Edwin was also noteworthy. Fu hit the open shots that came to him.
Kelly Oubre Jr. did not score and did not defend well. Come to think of it -- he didn't really do anything well the entire first half.
The Pelicans summer squad really opened it up in the second quarter of the game, mostly thanks to the defense and Seth Curry. The Pelicans started using a trapping scheme that baffled the Wizards for the first part of the quarter. As a result, Victor Rudd and Khem Birch continued to get out in transition and made some high flying dunks.
Seth Curry just flat out took over for a while scoring on FIVE bank shots. However, bad defense at the end the quarter let the Wizards get back into the game. Pels finished the quarter with an 8 point lead.
Another side note, Larry Drew II played off the ball much more in the first half with fellow UCLA point guard Lazeric Jones getting more ball handling responsibility.
Pelicans go into the half with an 49-41 lead.
In the third quarter, Khem Birch continued to hustle, getting an offensive rebound and putback. He had the best game of his summer league play by far tonight.
At one point, the Wizards looked like they were going to make a run, then Dejean-Jones absolutely annihilated a dunk and then stole the inbound pass. Those back to back plays really changed the feel of the game in my opinion. The Wizards never really threatened the Pelicans lead again.
Seth Curry was lighting it up on offense tonight but really struggled on the defensive end. He had 24 points through three quarters. He hot.
Larry Drew II's change of pace and confidence in his handles will remind you of Chris Paul a bit. LDII is capable of doing that thing where he stops on a dime, keeps the defender on his hip, all while dribbling the ball.
Kelly Oubre didn't score his first point until the third quarter, but seemed to gain a little confidence. He racked up a block shot and 6pts. But by the end of the quarter, Oubre fell back asleep.
Larry Drew II did a solid job hitting his jump shot and finding guys. The Pelicans started out slow, Larry Drew II got the offense out of the mud. Seth Curry's offensive prowess also helped the Pelicans score points when the offense wasn't clicking.
Larry Drew II finished the game strong. LD2 proved once again that there just aren't many weaknesses in his game. Great handles, good passer, decent defender, and can hit open shots. Just not sure how much you can ask for. Scott Machado is one of the better point guards at the Las Vegas Summer League and Drew sufficiently beat him. In game commentator, and basketball aficionado, Doug Gottlieb agreed. At one point, Doug stated that LD2 looked like an legit 3rd point guard in the NBA.
Victor Rudd is the best open court player on the summer squad - no doubt. If he gets in the open floor, Rudd can take the ball straight to hoop.
Pelicans looked a little gassed by the fourth quarter, but not many fouls were called so that's fair. Seth Curry hit a circus shot and Fuquan Edwin hit an 3 off a well timed pass by Larry Drew II. Pels went up 93-77 with a 1:20 left and the game was over. Coach Pack put Jay Hook and Tweety Carter In! It's a wrap. Pels win in dominant fashion 97-81.
The Pelicans will move on to the Summer League quarter finals to seek revenge against the Warriors.
End Game Notes:
Seth Curry finished with 26 points on 12-21 from the field. Larry Drew II had 13 points and 5 assists. Fuquan Edwin, Khem Birch, and Victor Rudd all finished with 12 points. Khem Birch also had an eye-popping plus/minus of +23, the highest of any player. Khem Birch really helped his chances of making an NBA roster tonight. Everyone else pretty much stayed put. Kelly Oubre Jr. was terrible.
For more in game summer league analysis you can follow me on twitter @jdbillio. Thanks for reading. #TakeFlight