Behind a 30-point outburst from Trey Murphy, the New Orleans Pelicans notched their first summer league victory. After beating the Atlanta Hawks by a 101-73 margin, however, all thoughts were with E.J. Liddell, who potentially suffered a devastating right knee injury.
Just watched a medical staff member pull EJ’s grandmother out of the stands and bring her to the locker room. I don’t like that sign.— REL (@mynameisrel_) July 11, 2022
Dyson Daniels, who is not expected to play again during this summer league, sprained his right ankle in game 1 on Saturday; however, his injury isn’t remotely considered to be serious. Unfortunately, Liddell’s likely is, after watching him need a lot of help to the locker room tonight, with his family apparently notified of the situation later during the contest.
With 6:52 left in the third quarter, Liddell’s right knee buckled awkwardly after trying to fight for position against a defender. He may have slipped, but either way, his full body weight promptly collapsed over the right leg, leaving his knee in an unnatural position for several seconds. He appeared to be in a great deal of pain as he immediately grabbed the knee while writhing on the court.
What makes this injury all the more disconcerting, Liddell was forced from the game in the first half after appearing to injure the same leg in transition. While he was able to walk off the court under his own power, everyone is now left wondering whether it was prudent to re-insert him back into this game following that first incident.
Jarron Collins said in postgame that Liddell will undergo an MRI tonight. Prayers up for the rookie, who was settling into a nice groove before the injury struck.
As for the rest of the game itself, Murphy found a good comfort zone early and remained solid throughout. He scored the team’s first field goal and had seven points in the first quarter. Known as an outside shooter, he did most of his damage from inside the 3-point arc, displaying a more well-rounded game.
After making all eight of his free throws on Saturday, Murphy went to the charity stripe nine times against the Hawks, finding the bottom of the net all but twice. He averaged 2.1 free throw attempts per 36 minutes last season.
The offense, as a whole operated, much better in game 2, with notable improvements in the ball movement. While the Pelicans tallied only four assists in the first quarter, there was no stagnation as the ball often whipped around, leading to a 27-20 lead.
The Pelicans converted 55.7% of their field goal attempts and made 8 of 18 from the 3-point arc. The difference in the final score likely would have been greater if not for 19 New Orleans turnovers.
Next to Murphy, Daeqwon Plowden made the biggest impact, finishing with a line of 16 points and six rebounds in nearly 24 minutes of action. He had a nice sequence of a 3-ball followed by spinning lay-up in the second half, but the most notable highlight came before halftime.
WOW. Daeqwon Plowden— NBA (@NBA) July 11, 2022
*Look at where he starts from* pic.twitter.com/HBLwi96sEW
Jared Harper, who failed to record an assist in game 1, totaled seven dimes tonight. He also added 14 points, largely from a 9-12 performance from the free throw line.
Tyrique Jones, who started in place of an injured Karlo Matkovic (right hand stitches) at center, had 11 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.
The Hawks were led by Chaundee Brown Jr. and Justin Tillman who each scored 14 points.
New Orleans will face the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, with another 5:00 p.m. Central tip-off; however, you can be sure that Pels nation is going to be thinking about and hoping for the best of one of their rookies.
Here’s to learning of a best case scenario for E.J. Lindell soon.
For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @OlehKosel.