After winning their first two games by comfortable margins, the New Orleans Pelicans ran into the more motivated and focused squad on Monday afternoon. Although they outscored the Detroit Pistons by double figures in the fourth quarter, the Pelicans comeback attempt came up short, losing 105-97. The loss drops the Pelicans record to 2-1 in Summer League play.
The primary reason for the defeat was the Pelicans were completely unable to effectively protect the rim through the first three quarters. The Pistons blitzed the Pelicans for 61 points in the first half, with a number of their makes coming from point-blank range. Cheick Diallo, in particular, had a difficult time of interrupting wave after wave of Detroit dive-bombers through the paint.
Whether Diallo continues to try and do too much, is just overwrought mentally with too many concepts and responsibilities on both ends of the floor or this is simply who he is — a big man who doesn’t have enough skills and athleticism to compensate for his lack of size, he is on his way to his worst Summer League showing in three trips to Las Vegas considering the higher expectations. This is a rather disappointing development. While Diallo finished in strong fashion with a Pelicans-high 25 points, most of his efficient production came in the fourth quarter, well after the outcome of the game had been decided. In post-game media, SL Head Coach Kevin Hanson noted it was good to see Diallo have that breakout statistical game, but that he needs to become more of a ‘self starter’ at tip-off.
SL Head Coach Kevin Hanson was happy with how the Pelicans finished after a sluggish first three quarters, but the team needs to come out much stronger in the next game. In particular, he noted Cheick Diallo needs to be a 'self starter.'— Oleh Kosel (@OlehKosel) July 9, 2018
Trevon Bluiett didn’t set the world on fire — 13 points (on 5-12 shooting), two threes, three rebounds, two assists, but he continued to exhibit positives. Following the game, Hanson commented that it would be great to see Bluiett get a chance to play with the guys on the regular season roster because he’s a real NBA talent.
Kevin Hanson on Trevon Bluiett: "It would be great to get him on our real team. He's a real NBA player"— Will Guillory (@WillGuillory) July 9, 2018
Bluiett’s offensive games consists of much more than just scoring off catch-and-shoots or running off screens for open jumpers. For instance, he possesses the ability to probe the floor with his dribble, without committing a turnover or settling for a low percentage shot. Defensively, on two separate occasions, a larger Detroit player tried to use their size advantage to first drive by Bluiett to the hoop and then post him on the block. The Pistons failed to score both times.
Shavon Shield continues to do things well (14 points, three rebounds, four assists, two steals), but it was announced yesterday that he’s headed back to Europe to play for Baskonia in Spain. That’s a shame because he exhibits a versatile game that could be useful in the league as a ‘glue guy.’
Walter Lemon Jr. posted a line of 14 points, seven assists and three steals, while Cliff Alexander was the only other Pelican to score in double figures to finish with 12 points and nine rebounds. Tony Carr, once again, was invisible, winding up with six points on just three shot attempts in 21 minutes of action.
Up next, the Pelicans will get ready for the Summer League playoffs, with their next game coming on either Wednesday or Thursday. Be sure to follow us for all the updates on social media!