The New Orleans Pelicans had their home opener against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night and came up short, just like in the season opener.
After a 5-0 preseason, the New Orleans Pelicans are off to a cold start as they are currently winless through two games. This is the perfect example of why we don’t take preseason games too seriously.
We also should not take the Pelicans starting 0-2 too seriously as it is the start of the year and there is plenty of time to recover. Plus, they have a natural built-in excuse of not having Zion Williamson healthy.
Having an 0-2 record is not all that bad but with upcoming games against the Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets, there should be a legitimate concern bout starting 5-0.
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It is a shame, too, as both games were very winnable and could have been won by the Pelicans with a few small tweaks.
We obviously did not love the outcome of the game, but there were certain things we liked about the game, as well as disliked.
Liked: Brandon Ingram taking control
This is the kind of showing that New Orleans Pelicans’ fans should be extremely excited for. Brandon Ingram was a huge part of that Anthony Davis deal and the team is going to need him to take that extra step.
Ingram has even more room to blossom right now with Zion being out and has all the chances to take over the game and make this his team.
He did that on Friday night by scoring 25 with eight rebounds and three assists. That alone is impressive, but watching how he confidently took over this game is a hugely positive sign for the Pelicans.
Didn’t like: Lonzo Ball shooting so many threes
As a strong advocate of Lonzo Ball, I definitely understand that to break out of the rut and get more confidence Lonzo Ball is going to have to start knocking down three-point shots at a consistent rate. However, the team should still not force the issue, which is what seemingly happened on Friday.
It was not like Ball was being a ball-hog or anything, either. It looked like the Pelicans specifically designed to get him some open threes in this game.
Ball had a game more similar to his past showings, making three shots on 12 attempts. That is not all that bad with the worst part being the fact that he shot a three 12 times.
Liked: The bench guards
The starting guards for the New Orleans Pelicans did not do all that much in this game. J.J. Redick had three points, Ball went 3-12 shooting and Jrue Holiday only had eight points on two of 11 shooting.
However, the guards on the bench made up for the lack of production with some great games coming out of the second unit.
The first was Frank Jackson, who only played 15 minutes but still managed to score 15 points with a positive seven net rating.
Hart shot 5-9 from the floor in 26 minutes with 16 points and nine rebounds,
We told our readers before the season about Hart and how he is prone for these big games. However, he is also prone to have some duds as well. If the Pelicans can get this version of Hart, or at least close to it, for most of the games then great.
Didn’t like: That second-quarter run
The New Orleans Pelicans appeared to be in control of this game completely before the Mavericks started to rally in the second quarter to take a lead into halftime.
The Pelicans then were outscored 45 to 23 in the second quarter, allowing the Mavericks to take control of the lead and grasp a firm handle on it. Most of those points came from a relatively big and quick run that the team made the most out of.
It happens in basketball, but if this continues to happen in most games then the Pelicans will not ve very successful.
Liked: They were virtually identical to the Mavericks
This was not a blowout by any stretch of the imagination and the Pelicans actually had a very similar game to their opposition. The only noticeable difference is the number of free throws that the two teams took.
Aside from that, both teams had nearly identical box scores that really could have gone either way for either team.
The Mavericks were 2.5 percent better than the New Orleans Pelicans in shooting the ball, although they made the exact same number of shots in the game. The Pelicans actually had a slight edge in three-point percentage, were only off 0.2 percent in free-throw percentage, had more assists, the list goes on.
This shows that the Pelicans are ready to be competitive with some of the best teams in the league. They played a virtually identical game as the Mavericks did and lost because of the free throws.