With the San Antonio Spurs not resting any key contributors, many expected for the Silver and Black to crush the no-name Pelicans. Through 3 quarters, these expectations were met, but lo and behold, New Orleans made things somewhat interesting in the fourth. Unfortunately, their deficit had been too great and they simply lacked enough firepower to make up any more ground than they did. With the win, the Spurs set an NBA record for 38 straight wins at home to start the season.
About 20 minutes before Alvin Gentry's pre-game conference, the New Orleans Pelicans newest 10-day contract, James Ennis, arrived inside the AT&T Center. I picture his first interaction with the team went something like this.
"Welcome. There's your locker, your jersey, now go lace them up. We'll worry about getting names straight later. And as far as offense or defense strategies, just wing it. That's what several of the guys out there are doing anyway."
Jokes aside, players shuffling in without any team practices has sadly become the new norm. Thus, it was surprising to see the Pelicans come out very sharp in the first quarter. Jordan Hamilton and Toney Douglas carried the offense early (11 of the first 13 points), and then Alexis Ajinca took over and added 8 points. By the time the frame ended, New Orleans trailed by a mere digit, 27-26.
Things did a complete 180 in the second quarter. The Pelicans couldn't buy a bucket and they ended up tying a season-low for points in a quarter with 13. An 8-2 run by the Spurs before halftime was the biggest difference maker, leading to a 46-39 deficit.
In the second half, more ice cold offense ensued; the Pelicans totaled just 9 points in the first 8+ minutes and finished with 16 in the third quarter. About the only bright spot was Hamilton who was doing a little bit of everything at times.
So, with everyone expecting the Pelicans to head for the team bus early, they went and did just the opposite. They got off to a fast start, going on a 11-2 run, and reduced their deficit back to single digits. However, they were not able to muster another significant run to make things really interesting.
Count them: 7 Pelicans scored in double figures on the night. Alexis Ajinca led the way with 18 points and tied for team-high honors in the rebounding department with 9. In his 8th game with the franchise, Tim Frazier scored in double figures for the 7th time (11 points) and also added 7 assists and 2 steals. Newcomer James Ennis had 13 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 threes.
Stay tuned for Owen's full recap a bit later. If you haven't noticed, he consistently puts out grade A material and is worth the read no matter how dismal the basketball performances.