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Cheick Diallo posts monster 28-point, 13-rebound game but New Orleans Pelicans fall 110-106 to Miami Heat in Summer League playoffs

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The Heat’s Jarod Jones dropped 31 points in a good battle down to the wire.

NBA: Preseason-Chicago Bulls at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

In the first round of the single-elimination 2018 Summer League playoffs, the New Orleans Pelicans lost a closely contested battle to the Miami Heat by a slim 110-106 margin.

Despite missing Bam Adebayo and Derrick Jones Jr., the Heat raced out to a 21-11 advantage behind the hot shooting of Duncan Robinson and Jarrod Jones. Although Robinson slowed, Jones dominated throughout and finished with 31 points, eight rebounds, four threes and four assists. Not to be outdone at power forward, Cheick Diallo countered with 28 points and 13 rebounds in his best Las Vegas showing since last summer. He missed only three of twelve shot attempts and converted all ten of his free throw attempts.

After falling behind by double digits early, the Pelicans did a much better job for the rest of the game in matching the Heat on the scoreboard and in the intensity department. A number of players showed well. In addition, the outcome of the game could have wound up quite differently had the Pelicans simply executed better down the stretch.

With the Pelicans holding onto a precious 99-98 lead and 2:07 remaining on the game clock, Jones turned the ball over which instantly led to a New Orleans fast break. Unfortunately, a pass from Trevon Bluiett failed to connect with Diallo, who was running down the middle of the floor, and Miami turned that New Orleans mistake into three points from Daryl Macon.

On the ensuing possession, Walter Lemon Jr. decided to call his number off a pick-and-roll but missed an open step-back three-point attempt. Miami immediately proceeded to add another three points when Derrick Walton Jr. dropped home a long perimeter bomb just as the shot clock buzzer sounded, increasing the Heat’s lead to five points with 49.5 seconds left in the game.

With the defeat, the Pelicans are now eliminated from tournament play and will take the court a final time in Summer League action tomorrow in a consolation game against Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson and the New York Knicks. It should be a good one so be sure to tune in or set those DVRs for 3:30 p.m. Central.

Game Notes

  • Shavon Shields missed today’s contest due to injury.
  • Trevon Bluiett started in place of Shields, but for a second straight game, his shot was not right as rain. After knocking down four of his first seven shots, Bluiett failed to connect for the rest of the game and finished with 10 points, three assists, two rebounds and one three in 32 minutes. Bluiett didn’t appear to be as aggressive as he had been over the first three games when he was coming off the bench; nevertheless, it was far from any disaster as in addition to exhibiting some solid defense, Bluiett displayed some serious flash with his passing game.
  • Walter Lemon Jr., for whatever reason, is starting to grow on me...some. The Pelicans looked awfully absent against the Pistons this past Monday, but I enjoyed Lemon’s effort for much of that game and he was able to largely carry it over into today. When focused and engaged, he combines a good motor and instincts into positive value and it can be evidenced in his work on the glass and with making timely steals. However, there are still too many instances where he’ll try and force a pass into traffic or not maintain a high level of effort. For instance, after coming up with a nice steal, he stopped underneath the rim once his defensive assignment attempted a shot and missed. Instead of making a second effort, he just stood in the same spot — not guarding anyone — for the rest of the possession, which ultimately led to a made wide open Miami corner three.
  • Tony Carr remains unimpressive. He can contort his body to get off a shot in or around the paint, but the rest of his game/confidence level isn’t ready for the NBA. One time, he lost his dribble in traffic. He later overthrew a not too difficult pass over the top to Cliff Alexander in a fast break situation. The best case scenario for Carr is that he goes over to Europe, develops his game over the next year or two, and then the Pelicans have the opportunity to sign him as they hold his draft rights.
  • D.J. Hogg made a positive impact in the first half: hitting Diallo for a good assist, making a couple of nice defensive plays, and starting 3-3 from the field that included a couple of three-pointers. I hope the Pelicans keep an eye on him because there may be some untapped potential in that body. Maybe a year or two in the G League unlocks some more of that talent?
  • In consecutive games, Garlon Green has done things that could make someone take notice. He scored 14 points in 18 minutes of action today, and after spending four years abroad honing his game, could he receive a training camp invite next September as Kevin alluded to on social media?