Injury report screenshot season is back and with a vengance, baby!
The Walking Wounded New Orleans Pelicans beat half the Golden State Warriors 108-100 in a matchup not many would have expected before the season started. It was all about Eric Paschall, JJ Redick, Ky Bowman, and Nicolo Melli... LOL.
In case you didn’t see the injury report for both teams, you could have finished Infinite Jest faster than reading the various names and maladies of the Pels and Warriors. The quality of the names is a sight to behold.
The Warriors-Pelicans official injury report has 16 players on it. Tips in about an hour in New Orleans. Pelicans favored by 3.5 points. pic.twitter.com/h7pR2yJZUJ— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 17, 2019
But enough about who wasn’t there; let’s appreciate the guys who made it through 48 full minutes and wound up notching the victory!
THREES THE KEYS
The Pelicans attempted 46 three-pointers out of their 89 total field goal attempts and made 18 of ‘em. Meanwhile, the Warriors made 7 of just 25 attempts. Simple math helped the Pels tonight because they weren’t making their 2s and didn’t get to the free throw line as much as one would like.
Most of the game, New Orleans field goal percentage was at or below 40 percent (they finished at 41.6%), with their attempts and makes from three buoying the offense — only at the end of the night did their field goal percentage top their three-point percentage (39.1%).
Hot shooters from behind the arc included JJ Redick, who had four threes in the first quarter and finished with 26 points on 6-11 from 3 (plus two other long-two makes basically on the line). Nico Melli made five 3s total, including all three of his attempts in the second half, and the backbreaker with under a minute to go in the game with the shot clock expiring to solidify the win. He was clutch. Lastly, Nickeil Alexander-Walker made five of his game-high 13 attempts. More on him below.
Jaxson Hayes made his first career start in the NBA and gave us all what we like to see: highlight impact plays. Sure, he finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, but check out how he did some of that.
That ball was never seen again pic.twitter.com/BDgl1BfGmw— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) November 18, 2019
Rookies making plays on both sides of the floor pic.twitter.com/msYd0iqX3E— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) November 18, 2019
Hayes is such a vertical, pick-and-rolling, alley-oop dunking, worry machine for opponents that, over time, he should contribute to the offense more consistently. Hayes is also one of the only guys on this makeshift roster who will get to the line much; he took a team-high six attempts tonight. He may be skinny but he never plays scared.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker fans saw a big breakout game against the excellent Miami Heat on Saturday night, and he followed that up with 19 points, five rebounds and four assists on Sunday.
Remember, NAW misfired on 19 of his first 23 shots as a pro, and since then has had multiple terrible-shooting games, but the kid has got triple-threat skills and superior confidence. The good part about shooting, even when you miss a lot as Alexander-Walker has thus far, is that it helps avoid turnovers. He’s now had nine games of one or fewer turnovers.
And regarding confidence: he took 19 shots (zero free throw attempts, uh oh) in 34 minutes.
He’ll take a ton of threes, but projects as a dribbling investigator looking for windows, cutters, slashers, and leapers. It’s best he pass once he drives, because his 2-point shooting numbers are in a word, bad.
Before tonight’s game, he was shooting just 29% from inside the arc and taking a higher percentage of shots within 10 feet of the rim than any other shot type, both according to NBA.com. Not great, Bob!
But he’s shooting 38% on 3s after taking zero dribbles and the stroke is there. He made mulitple catch-and-shoot 3s in the first half to total 11 points, four rebounds, one assist and one steal in the first half, and made a huge one late.
On the handsome 2-1 give-and-go with Redick. JJ draws the second defender giving NAW the split second to get off the contested shot and he delivers. pic.twitter.com/VtvcambpU6— Preston Ellis (@PrestonEllis) November 18, 2019
Contested corner three, not a problem for the rook pic.twitter.com/w46SqnNsVX— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) November 18, 2019
FOOL’S GOLDEN STATE
Eric Paschall appears to be a legit NBA scoring wing after notching 30 points tonight as a rookie second round draft pick. He’s been basically the “best” option for GSW in this season’s fall from grace. But he might be good and worthy a spot in the regular rotation of a good lineup!
Dubs fans are probably a little less confident in Marquese Chriss, who is generally a negative NBA player and has been since he was drafted in 2016, although he’s still just 22 years old.
Maybe this dunk will catapult his career to new heights.
On Tuesday, the Portland Trail Blazers come to town with superstar Damian Lillard, scoring whiz CJ McCollum and a new free agent forward.