Unfortunately, the Pelicans one-point margin of victory wasn’t enough to get spot in the MGM Resorts Summer League championship game.
The Pels entered Sunday night’s game against the Warriors needing to win by 11 points to advance. New Orleans had won its first three games by an average of 15 points.
Sunday night was a bit different, going down to the wire. New Orleans forced overtime after a Naji Marshall putback. A fantastic play written up by Willie Green which resulted in a great look for Herbert Jones.
Then in the overtime period and trailing by one, the ball went to Marshall again. His layup attempt was initially ruled a goaltend, giving the Pelicans the lead. After review, though, the goaltending call was reversed, but Murphy had caught the rebound and flipped it into the basket before the whistle first blew — meaning the block was clean, but the Pelicans were still given credit for a bucket and the lead.
It was a fitting conclusion for Murphy, who had been New Orleans best offensive option from the game’s outset.
After watching his scoring output dip in each of the last two games, and making just one of his last nine 3-point attempts, Murphy got going early. He scored 10 of the Pels’ first 17 points as New Orleans trailed by a single digit after the opening period. Murphy went on to lead all scorers with 22 points.
He was 8-for-12, including 4-7 from beyond the arc. After four games, he’s shooting 56 percent from the floor overall, and 44 percent on 3-point attempts.
Murphy had to be special in order to keep his team in the ball game and give the Pelicans a chance to win in the first place.
New Orleans struggled defensively early on, often looking flat-footed as the Warriors attacked the basket, either in transition or in the half court.
Golden State was 9-of-19 inside the arc in the first half and got eight free throw attempts due to its aggressiveness.
The Pels did shoot 50 percent from the floor. However, their turnovers and failure to close out possessions kept the scored tied going into the break.
Willie Green was dissatisfied with his team’s effort over both quarters. The Pelicans had consistently struggled in the first half throughout the week. They also were able to find a higher gear defensively in each second half.
Neither team looked sharp in the third quarter.
New Orleans was 7-for-24 shooting, many of the shots taken with little lift or rhythm. The Pelicans looked like a team that was mentally and physically fatigued after playing three games in the previous six days.
Fortunately, the Warriors were having their own struggles to put the ball into the basket. The Pels only allowed one basket in the paint during the third quarter, reversing a negative from the first half.
Murphy could have extended the lead, if his teammates had gotten him more shots. Trey continued to play both ends of the floor, showing a determination that will quickly make him a fan favorite.
Such a fantastic read from Trey Murphy III to jump this passing lane and then hit the C&S 3 in transition! pic.twitter.com/jH9BU9cmkL— Aram Cannuscio (@AC__Hoops) August 16, 2021
The 17th pick looks like a steal considering the multitude of skills he’s shown over four games.
Really great recovery from Trey Murphy III to get this block after Guy splits the screen. pic.twitter.com/rj82s08H7g— Aram Cannuscio (@AC__Hoops) August 16, 2021
Marshall collected his third double-double in four games, with 14 points and 12 rebounds; though he shot just 5-for-17 on the night.
Kira Lewis Jr. posted his worst stat line of the week, missing on 10 of his 11 field goal attempts. Lewis took a number of shots early in the shot clock and struggled to operate the offense in the half court.
Didi Louzada was a little too careless with the basketball and couldn’t find the range, while Herb Jones looked very much like the project that a second round pick typically is.
Overall, you learned what you expected to about the status of the Pelicans’ roster. Murphy is hinting at star potential. Both he and Marshall should be consistent rotation players this season. Lewis is still talented, and still raw. Louzada works way too hard for the results he produces and will need time in the G-League if he’s going to be a contributor anytime soon.
The Pelicans played hard. They won.
Willie Green and his staff have look prepared and have focused on defense and competing on each and every possession.
New Orleans still has one more game to play. While the stakes no longer include a championship, that won’t keep Green from teaching. It’s another chance to compete and another chance to win.
The wins ultimately won’t count. But careers began this week. A franchise took its first steps into a new era and generated positive buzz for its fanbase.
That’s what Summer League is for, isn’t it?