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Game 3: Jrue Holiday out with knee sprain against Rockets, Pelicans to rely on depth for first win of season

Mean mugging Frankie Flash should get a big opportunity tonight!

Dallas Mavericks v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Raise your hand if you predicted the New Orleans Pelicans would be without their two top players by the third game of the season on the schedule.

No one was that pessimistic? Really?? Okay, driiinnnnkkkkkkkkk!

But in all honesty, glancing at the latest injury report is a bummer. Zion Williamson is predicted to be out anywhere from the first six to eight weeks of the season and now Jrue Holiday has been diagnosed with a knee sprain following this drive to the rim in last night’s loss to the Rockets.

Get well soon, Jrue, but at least the MRI has already come back negative and there’s a good deal of hope he’ll return soon. Here’s why I decided to throw cold water in your face on this beautiful Saturday though: there exists hope against the Rockets tonight, and no, I’m not suffering from any delusional disorder.

Having the top two players out in previous years (think Anthony Davis and Holiday last season) would have resulted in a sure-fire defeat. On this deeply talented team though, I firmly believe these Pelicans have a chance against most teams any given night. Plus, they’re entering their latest matchup with some positives.

  • Brandon Ingram has been sneaky good to start the season. Check out these averages: 23.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 3.0 threes and 2.5 blocks; and he’s boasting a 46.3 FG%, 50 3PT% and 100 FT%. Put down the stopwatch and stop complaining about time of possession, there’s something cool happening here.
  • Derrick Favors looked a lot better against the Mavericks than he had at any point previously in a New Orleans uniform, including preseason play. His 16-point, seven-rebound effort came in just 22 minutes and he still didn’t look 100% out there. Let’s just hope he’ll be able to bring the same effort against the Rockets because he did react negatively to a few plays on the court towards the end of his court time.
  • Shots are dropping for Josh Hart, Frank Jackson, Nicolo Melli and JJ Redick. The rest of the team has to ensure they look for them more often.
  • Lonzo Ball’s accuracy hasn’t been up to par, but I’m looking at the glass being half full. Yeah, he made just one of five shots after re-entering the game with about six minutes left, but he was aggressive. If a young guy has a chance to be one of the best players on your team, you should hope for displays like this for developmental purposes. Maybe in time Lonzo’s shot will drop more often, or hopefully, he’ll also look to set up other teammates first in crunch time before avidly seeking his own shot. But showing a willingness to be the guy is the first step. Keep at it Lonzo.
  • Nickeil Alexander-Walker is due. Yeah, I’m a believer.

Jrue Holiday won’t be out there to slow down James Harden or Russell Westbrook, but I’m betting on the Pelicans being a lot more competitive tonight than most think.

Geaux Pels!

Where To Watch/Listen

What: New Orleans Pelicans (0-2) at Houston Rockets (0-1)

Where: Toyota Center, Houston, TX

When: Saturday, October 26, 2019. 7:00 PM CDT

How: FSNO, ESPN New Orleans Radio 100.3FM