The New Orleans Pelicans (1-3) fell to the Houston Rockets (4-0) for the second time in China, 116-104. The final score wasn’t indicative of the beating New Orleans suffered throughout most of the game.
I didn’t get a chance to watch the contest live, but between following along on Twitter, the boxscore and my Clippit app, I got the gist of the disaster. The Rockets raced out to a 31-14 lead after the first quarter, a frame that saw both Anthony Davis (ankle) and E’Twaun Moore (heel) leave the game with injury.
The play in which Anthony Davis sprained his ankle. pic.twitter.com/G94inEDUXy— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) October 12, 2016
Fortunately, Davis’ injury isn’t considered to be anything too serious, but chances are he will miss the rest of the preseason schedule.
Following a 59-34 halftime deficit, the Pelicans did manage to outscore the Rockets by a 70-57 margin. The comeback was spearheaded by the reserves, who knocked down 30 shots out of 60 attempts (starters shot 6-22). Quinn Cook (20 points, 8 assists), Cheick Diallo (12 points, 7 rebounds) and Langston Galloway (16 points) appear to have performed the best out of the bunch.
Here's your Pelicans player of the game, Quinn Cook: 20 pts (on 7-9 shooting) & 8 assists. https://t.co/80kIBKTcCu— Oleh Kosel (@Redhopeful) October 12, 2016
On the flip side, Buddy Hield failed to score a single point in 18 minutes, and Alexis Ajinca and Dante Cunningham combined for 8 personal fouls in 32 minutes of action. Although Solomon Hill also couldn’t find the bottom of the net, he at least found the free throw line 9 times in 26 minutes, grabbed 7 rebounds and had some positive defensive moments.
Here's some of that patented Solomon Hill defense as he swipes it away from James Harden. https://t.co/Ulk19ECWTa— Oleh Kosel (@Redhopeful) October 12, 2016
After the game, Alvin Gentry was far from a happy camper, stating to the media he is a very frustrated head coach right now.
Gentry on the Pelicans' injury issues in light of losing Davis and Moore for today's game: pic.twitter.com/90hy8IzJCf— Justin Verrier (@JustinVerrier) October 12, 2016
It’s difficult to blame the head coach following a 2015-16 season that saw the Pelicans lead the league in games missed due to injury. The latest injuries are obviously not going to help paint the organization’s medical/training staff in a better light anytime soon.
With two weeks remaining before the games start to count, the New Orleans Pelicans are threatening to limp into the regular season. Can they turn things around some before walking into another slaughter that results in a terribly slow start? Sadly, reasonable doubt appears to be growing by the day.