clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

New Orleans Pelicans fade after hot start, lose opener to Memphis Grizzlies, 103-91

Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins crushed it. Unfortunately, no one else bothered to show.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Remember that semester where you partied way too hard and almost got a negative GPA? After some soul searching, you decided to change your ways if you wanted to make something of yourself, and you did...for a while. Yet, well before it become habit, you next recall the bowl of vodka soaked fruit — and your face in it, wondering if you had missed that final exam.

That, my friends, was the New Orleans Pelicans 2017-18 season opener in a more humorous nutshell.

The Pelicans took on the Grizzlies tonight, days after getting blown out in their final pre-season game to same team. Although it was far from a blowout of epic proportions, the result was unmistakably the same: a disappointing loss.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

That’s unfortunate because New Orleans started out hot, totaling 34 points in the first quarter on 55% shooting from the field and 6 of 9 from three-point territory. The ball movement was crisp and the teams stars were dominating. DeMarcus Cousins was definitely the straw stirring the drink early on with a massive opening frame, scoring 13 points to go with seven rebounds and five blocks.

Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there.

Pelicans cool off

After the first quarter, New Orleans offense got ugly, very ugly. Gone was the ball movement that led to so many easy buckets in the first frame. The Pels shot a painful 23.8% from the field in the second quarter, while blowing the seven-point lead they had built twelve minutes in.

It didn’t get much better in the third quarter, where New Orleans shot 29% from the floor. Honestly, the team looked completely clueless in any offensive action that didn’t involve passing to Anthony Davis or Boogie.

To make matters worse, the Pelicans committed 18 turnovers in the final three quarters. All non-Boogie/AD players combined for 30 points, including just 8 bench points.

Sure seems like that no point guard offensive concept is still very much a work in progress.

Holiday Jeer

Jrue Holiday was completely missing in action. He managed a miserable four points on 2 of 11 shooting. Even worse, he lacked any of the aggressiveness, scoring, or play-making punch that the team spent the entire off-season selling the fan base on.

NBA: Preseason-New Orleans Pelicans at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Most offensive possessions saw Holiday dribble down the court, hand the ball off to a teammate and put on his Dr. Strange invisibility cloak. Theoretically, Jrue should be carrying the offense during stretches where Davis and Cousins are not on the floor together, or if the super duo needs a break. Instead, he deferred to the Pelicans host of middling role players.

If the Pels plan on going anywhere this season, they need Holiday to be much more aggressive and effective. If not, his already bloated cap number will start to make Solomon Hill’s deal look like a 10-day contract.

Big numbers for the bigs

Anthony Davis was a little under the weather after a bout with strep throat this week. Oddly enough, Davis still put up a huge stat line despite having an off night to the eye test.

The Brow had a mammoth double-double of 33 and 18 and did most of his damage from the free throw line, hitting 14 of his 17 attempts from the charity stripe. The Cousins/Davis free throw parade is real and was a silver lining in an otherwise disappointing game.

Boogie, for his part, finished with an amazing 28 point, 10 rebound and 7 block stat line. I really feel he might get a quadruple double in some game this season. On the down side, both bigs suffered some bad turnovers in the fourth quarter that killed the teams comeback hopes and sealed the 103-91 loss to the Grizzlies.

Next up

After dropping the season opener for the fifth time in six seasons, the Pelicans will host the Golden State Warriors in the Smoothie King Center on Friday night (8:30 P.M. CST). Perhaps the Pelicans can manage the unthinkable, or maybe Holiday will still be on holiday. Either way, check back with us for the game preview as well as other analysis and news.

Geaux Pels!!!