Pelicans avalanche Kings to start season 2-0
The Pelicans were lightning fast again tonight, outrunning the Kings 149-129 (a franchise record for points scored), boasting a gaudy 58.9% FG along the way. They continued to be supreme from downtown, nuking Sacramento 21 times on 33 looks. And once again, they got to the free throw line early and often, although they could use some practice there, only going 63.% from the charity stripe.
The Pelicans led in virtually all team comparison statistics, as teams usually do when they tally 149 points in regulation: winning the paint battle 76-70 and the fast break 28-23. The Kings would catch up to tie it with a little over four minutes to go in the first half, but that lasted for about a minute. Starting the second half down seven, the Kings played close until about 4 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, when the Pelicans made their final push with a pair of free throws and two daggers from downtown.
The Kings simply didn't have the man power to match up with the Pelicans down the stretch, with the biggest disparities being 3 pointers and defensive rebounds, but it was nice to see youngsters Buddy Hield, De'Aron Fox and Willie Cauley-Stein play a competitive first half.
Heild ended the game with 17 points on 7-11 shooting, including 3-4 from three point land. He would have been a solid fit with the Pelicans had they not traded him in the Boogie deal, but I'm I can live with that.
It would have been nice to see more fans in the lower levels of the Smoothie King Center, but the crowd had it's moments, particularly as they cheered Nikola Mirotic to the bench with 7 minutes left in the game after he set a new career high in points (36).
Niko Runs Wild Again
Niko was deadly from downtown again, going 5-9 from beyond the arc, giving him 11 makes on the season already. He would play the most minutes of any starter for the Pels with 31, donating 36 points (14-21 FG), 9 rebounds and 2 assists with his efforts. As I said two days ago, this was a home run move by the front office last year. I'll keep gloating until he starts missing.
Holiday Season Approaches
Jrue Holiday continues to dress like a ninja turtle as he pilots this high-flying Pelicans team on its titled path of global domination. It got a little colder in the building as he shelled out a solid double-double with 15 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds. Holiday Season is coming...
— TS% Eliot (Spooky) (@Cosmis) October 18, 2018
Just Another Day Being the Best
Anthony Davis finished the game with 25 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists on a night where he shot the ball 66%, same as his shining co-star, Mirotic. The bench was much more involved in this game, so AD was only forced to play 27 total minutes. When he was in the game, it was business as usual, soaring alley oops, eye-popping blocks and unstoppable hustle.
Payton and Randle Continue to Shine in Moderate Minutes
Payton finished with 11 points (5-7 FG), 6 rebounds and 6 assists. He continues to look comfortable with his new teammates.
Randle cooled off from Wednesday's scoring outburst, shooting 6-12 for 13 points, but again, he connected from downtown. His career average FGM-FGA for 3 pointers is 0.2-0.6. After two games in 2018-19, it's 2.0-4.0 on the season. This is a new dimension to Randle's game. Yet another Pelican proving trustworthy from beyond the arc... Interesting.
I almost forgot to mention that he was an absolute monster on the defensive end, hauling in 14 boards (all defensive) on the night. Randle is starting to look like a legit 6MOY contender.
Bench More Active in Home Opener
Darius Miller, Solomon Hill, and Ian Clark all played meaningful minutes in this one, with Miller (23 min, 10 pts) and Clark (18 minutes, 13 pts) giving solid contributions. Solomon Hill continued to be lame in a sense, but he was instrumental in helping the team pull away late in the 3rd quarter, hitting a 3-pointer and assisting on one a minute later.
Okafor and Deep Bench Sustain Lead Late
With 7 minutes remaining and the game seemingly out of hand, Jahlil Okafor and the deep bench took the court. Okafor managed 4 points on 1-2 FG (2-2 FT), with the group as whole shelling out 13 in the waning minutes. They tried their best to run it 150+ but time would expire with only 149 showing in the Pelicans final score box. Have mercy!
— ESPN NOLA 100.3 FM (@ESPNRadioNOLA) October 20, 2018
- A Weary Traveler
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