Pelicans.com postgame: Pelicans 116, Rockets 115
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
HOUSTON – There were so many positives and negatives coming out of Saturday’s New Orleans preseason opener that it was difficult to know where to start. One thing was certain, though: the team’s video review from the dramatic comeback victory will be exhaustive. Monty Williams even brought up cinema’s two most famous critics in explaining what’s in store for his players.
“We’ve got a lot to evaluate,” Williams said. “We’ll compile enough film to make Siskel and Ebert (jealous). From that standpoint, we’ve got a ways to go. No one’s going to get happy on the farm (about one win). But it was encouraging to see guys play that hard.”
When the Pelicans sit down Sunday and Monday for video review of their victory over the Rockets, here is some of what they’ll see:
· Two thumbs up for Anthony Morrow in his New Orleans debut. Morrow stepped into the starting lineup and quickly lived up to his reputation as one of the game’s premier shooters. Morrow led the Pelicans with 26 points, scoring double digits in both halves.
· Encouraging reviews on Austin Rivers, who netted 21 points and five assists. The one blemish was that after a good start, he began misfiring from the foul line and finished 7-for-13. Typical of the good news/bad news kind of game it was for the Pelicans, Rivers delivered a momentous conventional three-point play in the final minute, but later missed two free throws that would’ve iced the win.
· A New Orleans defensive performance that was panned by Williams for giving up 33 and 34 points in the first and third quarters, respectively. The Pelicans believe they'll be an improved defensive team given their personnel additions this summer, but they have much work to do after allowing the Rockets to shoot 57 percent from the field Saturday.
· Praise for Anthony Davis, who piled up 15 points in the second half, part of his 21-point outing. Davis also had two spectacular blocks of Dwight Howard around the basket. Davis was a one-man highlight reel with four dunks to go with those two rejections.
New Orleans trailed for virtually the entire game before mounting a late comeback that featured a 34-24 edge in the fourth quarter. Morrow and Rivers each deposited nine points during the final-period surge. Davis added eight points, while Arinze Onuaku helped seal the win with four late points, including two key free throws.
Pelicans wing Tyreke Evans sustained an ankle sprain that forced him to leave the game in the first half. His X-rays came up negative, but an MRI will be performed to check for further damage.