NBA Summer League: Pelicans 90, Lakers 73

by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

LAS VEGAS – During the New Orleans Pelicans’ summer league minicamp last week, Courtney Fells mentioned the name “Anthony Morrow” when he was asked to compare himself to another player. The response drew some raised eyebrows, because Morrow is one of the NBA’s premier shooters. Fells is a 27-year-old who has spent his entire professional career overseas.

Although Fells is still trying to break into the NBA, he did a convincing Morrow impression in Sunday’s dominant win over the Lakers. Fells, a North Carolina State product, rang up a game-best 25 points, shooting 9-for-13 from the field (4-for-6 from three-point range).

“We do a good job of sharing the ball,” the former Mississippi high school quarterback said. “(Pelicans teammates) did a good job of finding me, and I appreciate it. I was just thankful I was able to knock down shots.”

“I want him shooting like that every single game,” Pelicans forward/center Patric Young said. “It was unbelievable how great he played today.”

To only a slightly lesser degree, the same could’ve been said about New Orleans as a team Sunday. The Pelicans quickly built a double-digit lead over the Lakers (0-2), going up 51-36 by halftime. New Orleans’ lead expanded to as many as 23 in the second half. Los Angeles never led.

Eleven of the 12 Pelicans who got on the floor scored at least one basket, highlighted by a few of the following performances:

  • Making his New Orleans debut after playing for Indiana in the Orlando summer league, DeQuan Jones added 14 points for a reserve unit that generated 53 bench points.
  • Jeff Withey contributed 11 points, seven rebounds and one block.
  • The 6-foot-9, 240-pound Young continued to be an immovable force in the paint, tallying 10 points and six rebounds in his first start. He came off the bench Friday and had 11 points and 13 rebounds in just 19 minutes.
  • After a 20-point, nine-rebound, five-assist outing Friday, second-round pick Russ Smith produced another jam-packed stat line, this time consisting of six points, four rebounds, eight assists, two steals, one block and six turnovers. He struggled this time shooting-wise, going 3-for-11 from the field.
  • Arinze Onuaku, who began the 2013-14 regular season on the Pelicans’ roster, debuted in ’14 summer league and posted six points and four rebounds in just 11 minutes. Backup point guard Abdul Gaddy handed out eight assists in 12 minutes.

“Coach has a great belief in us. I feel we are clicking really well, sharing the ball so well,” said Young of a Pelicans team that shot 55.4 percent from the field (8-for-15 on treys). “Guys are going out there making plays. No one is out there trying to show out, and do more than what they’re capable of doing. When you’ve got a group of guys who are bought in like that, you’re going to get wins like this and have results like this.”