NBA Summer League Game 5 wrap: Pelicans 87, Timberwolves 59
The final game of summer league in Las Vegas can sometimes be a “go through the motions” kind of affair, as players for both teams look forward to a flight out of town and being able to enjoy what’s left of the offseason. New Orleans did not display an ounce of that mentality Tuesday, playing with an intensity described by NBA TV game analyst Channing Frye as a “level of ferocity.”
In a matchup of unbeaten teams, the Pelicans finished perfect in summer league, pounding the Timberwolves. New Orleans showed no signs of letting up, including a third-quarter stretch in which it played like the Harlem Globetrotters, racking up dunks and highlight-reel passes.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
New Orleans went on a 20-3 run to end the first half, stretching a one-possession advantage to 41-22 by intermission. The Pelicans led by 20-plus points throughout the third quarter, at one stage doubling up the Timberwolves with a 55-27 edge.
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Naji Marshall exemplified a balanced attack for New Orleans, posting 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He would’ve had a triple-double, but only took five shots during a very unselfish performance. He scored five points.
Fellow summer league starting forward Trey Murphy was given the game off, but finished his four-game run in Las Vegas with outstanding statistics and was one of the league’s most impressive rookies, despite being picked No. 17 in the first round. Pelicans first-year head coach Willie Green said of the duo, “I think it’s going to be a great complement to our veteran guys. When you can have young guys like Naji, Trey and Herb (Jones), Kira (Lewis), Didi (Louzada), the rest of our guys, step up and have a really solid summer league, it’s a confidence-builder going into the season. We want those guys to get a little bit of rest, but come into the season feeling like they have a chance to crack the rotation.” …
Marshall emphasized in three different postgame interviews that it should be noted that he has deemed the Pelicans “summer league champions.” Even though they did not qualify for the championship game based on a point differential tiebreaker, they were one of two squads to go 5-0 over the 10-day circuit. “We’re building championship habits,” Green said. “Look, we can’t control the point system, but we went 5-0. Everything counts for us. Every time we step on the floor, we want to be competitive. Every film session.” …
Tuesday’s game was a prime opportunity for numerous players to contribute in larger ways than they had in the previous four games. Off the bench, four summer Pels reached double digits in scoring, led by two-way signee Daulton Hommes, who found his shooting stroke by going 3/4 on treys and tallied 17 points. Moses Wright, David DiLeo and Malcolm Hill each deposited 13 or 12 points. None of those four reserves logged more than 24 minutes of action, shooting a combined 22/40 from the field.