The New Orleans Pelicans picked up their first win of the season on Thursday and in the process showed why they are dangerous no matter the record.
The New Orleans Pelicans entered Thursday night’s game against the Denver Nuggets with a 0-4 record after going undefeated in the preseason. Luckily, New Orleans was able to keep the losing streak from matching that winning streak and defeated the Nuggets, 122-107.
It was a great game by multiple accounts. Brandon Ingram continued to ball out, dropping 25 points to go along with five assists and three board. Jahlil Okafor had his best game of the young year, outscoring Ingram with 26 points while also picking up five blocks.
Jrue Holiday was a nice addition from injury as the guard scored 19 with seven assists and five boards and Frank Jackson had the kind of big game that Josh Hart has been having, scoring 21 points in 19 minutes.
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Most importantly, in this win, the New Orleans Pelicans showed exactly why they are a dangerous team for anyone to play this season and why they should never be taken lightly, no matter their record.
The Pelicans showed that when they are firing on all cylinders that they can be a very tough team to keep up with. The athleticism, speed and playmakers on the team can push the pace and it definitely surprised the Nuggets.
It surprised them so much so that head coach Mike Malone highly criticized his team’s effort in transition on the defensive end. The Pelicans finished the game with 37 fastbreak points compared to the Nuggets’ 20.
It definitely is understandable why Malone is upset but as the season goes along, he will realize that it was not completely a lack of effort from his team but that they were coming up against a team that can do this to anyone.
The Pelicans are really quick and they have several different ball-handlers that play with a fast-tempo and push the ball up the court, even when it is not fastbreak situations. Lonzo Ball has had that effect his entire career, Ingram shows plenty of flashes of being a point-forward and Holiday can take the ball up the court and push the tempo as well.
Plus, they are a strong defensive team that is going to force takeaways and start these fastbreak opportunities. Ball and Holiday are a very strong defensive backcourt while Ingram has the length to block shots and Derrick Favors (who didn’t play in this game) is a well-above-average defensive four.
They are going to create plenty of opportunities to bank on their speed and athleticism to make plays happen and we just happened to get the first glimpse of that on Thursday. The Nuggets were the unlucky recipients.
And the scariest part? They are only going to get better in this department once Zion Williamson returns and adds his ferocious finishing at the rim. Once that happens, we will start to see games like this much more often.