Whew, the Pelicans first win of the season was minutes from resulting in an entirely different outcome — and a hell of a lot of despair! After blowing a most-of-the-game-lead, the Pelicans fortunately fought back to capture a 119-112 win in Los Angeles against the Lakers.
Call it the Jameer Nelson era.
Maybe he’s not Bob Cousy, but Nelson did offer some patience and light play-making and a huge shot in his first ever game in a New Orleans uniform. His biggest contribution was a three-pointer with a little less than 90 seconds remaining, a shot that gave the Pels a 117-110 lead and solidified the victory.
Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins led the way for Nola; AD: 27, 17 rebounds, four steals and three blocks; Boogie had 22 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. Continue to pay attention to Anthony Davis, he is a special player with a still-growing skillset. The guy is great.
Nelson, officially acquired today, came off the bench and played 24 minutes, totaling five points and five assists. Generally, he seems like a leader-type guy this team desperately needs with Rajon Rondo out due to injury. He played quite a bit last year for Denver, so hopefully he’s ready to go for the rest of the season.
The Pelicans shot 65 percent in the first half, using an attacking, “whoever rebounds goes” style to score 68 first half points despite only making five triples. At its heart, this team wants to get it and go.
Brandon Ingram may have been a tad over-aggressive in the first quarter, attempting too many shots, most of which were poorly timed and inaccurate, as the Pels grabbed a 22-12 lead late in the first quarter.
The offense flowed at times in the second half as Ian Clark began to make an impact as a shooter and shot creator.
Clark’s time as a one-of-many-guards option might be over and the former human victory cigar might be the Pels’ best scoring option off the bench. He finished the night with 14 points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals. It’s to the point where even if he misses a shot, you say “good shot” and think he’s doing the right stuff out there. He even made a shot when he barely stepped out of bounds on the catch, and another one from past half-court a moment after the third-quarter buzzer.
Unfortunately, the team let things go a little bit in the game’s twilight, offering the chance for a Lakers upset. The Lakers actually led by multiple possessions late in the game, but they couldn’t contain the Pelicans cohesion late; E’Twaun Moore hit huge shots in the final quarter and the Pelicans staved off an embarrassing loss.
We might remember this win if this squad makes a run at the playoffs. The veterans won the night and held many Lakers starters to rough nights: Lonzo Ball, 3 of 13 (with 13 assists, though), Lopez, 2 of 8, and Ingram, 3 of 9.
Rookie stud Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope each tallied 20 points while Jordan Clarkson led the Purple and Gold with 24.
Hey, you gotta get your first win of the year before you can make the playoffs!