The New Orleans Pelicans were unable to start the season with a win and were the first team in the NBA this season to suffer a loss and start 0-1.
The New Orleans Pelicans had a tough break on Tuesday night. The team was able to hold a lead for a good portion of its first game and even made it to overtime against the 2018 NBA Champions.
The final scoreline can be a bit deceiving with the late baskets in the game but the Pelicans were still in this game until the final whistle and that is saying something for a young team against the defending champions.
This game was not perfect (as evident by the loss) but it definitely does not serve as the end of the world or a telling sign of what is to come this season. The Pelicans are fine, they will be fine and they will continue to fight for that eighth seed.
Regardless, we are excited about a new, entertaining era of basketball in New Orleans. Not everything was bad for the team in the opening game, either. Here is what we liked, loved and hated about the Pelicans’ first loss.
Liked: Brandon Ingram leading in scoring
Brandon Ingram is someone who is expected to break out this season and the way he is trending, get over the 20 points per game threshold. However, with a slew of other players, headlined by Zion Williamson, and some veterans, Ingram seemingly was forgotten about at times.
Zion Williamson was then injured and we wrote about how Ingram would have to step up the most to fill the void that Williamson left behind. Ingram needed to show that he can take the game over and lead a playoff team in scoring.
So far, so good for the Pelicans as Ingram scored 22 on 8-19 shooting with five assists and five rebounds. The Pelicans needed that big game from Ingram and now they can be more confident to run the offense through him.
Loved: The passing of this team
The New Orleans Pelicans were far from perfect on Tuesday night but there were some really fun stretches where the team was just moving the ball all around the court to find the open man.
This is something I have dubbed as the Lonzo Ball effect. Ball makes an offense play with more pace, gets all guys involved and spreads the culture of keeping the ball moving and always finding the open man.
New Orleans had 30 assists in this game, which was seven more than the Toronto Raptors. They were pushing the ball up the court, hitting the open guy and building an offensive gameplan that moved the basketball and led to great scoring, prior to the overtime.
3. Hated: The coaching
I do not think Alvin Gentry did a good job of managing his rotation in this game. Granted, it is the first game of the year and Gentry is just trying to figure out what works and does not work but the choices he made were still startling.
Only two starters played more than 30 minutes in this game. If you want to utilize that deep bench then you are going to have to give some starters less playing time but that is not what the Pelicans did.
Instead, the Pelicans ran some weird rotations that led to some weird pairings that were on the court for too long.
While the Pelicans do not want to run these guys to the ground, they are going to have to play them more than 30 minutes a game.
The New Orleans Pelicans almost got the job done and if the coaching and rotations were better then they probably would have gotten the job done. For now, the Pelicans have to deal with an 0-1 start.