The New Orleans Pelicans opened their four-game preseason schedule Monday, Oct. 4 against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Target Center and ... it looked like a preseason game. The shots weren't falling early (32 percent shooting in the opening quarter) while the ball was changing hands early and often (15 first half turnovers, 21 for the game).
The T'wolves registed the 117-114 win thanks to a strong first half showing from veteran center Karl-Anthony Towns (15 points) and guard D'Angelo Russell (19 points in 16 minutes) as their reserves just barely survived a strong fourth quarter push from the Pelicans bench.
Rookie wing Trey Murphy had a nice debut for New Orleans Coach Willie Green with 21 points in 30 minutes on 6 of 10 3-point shooting although his attempt to tie the score was blocked at the buzzer. Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes left the game with 1:25 to play in the third quarter with a left ankle sprain. He scored eight points with five rebounds in 20 minutes.
PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker. The third-year veteran led the team with 22 points and added three assists and two rebounds in just 20 minutes.
BY THE NUMBERS
19: The Pelicans were 4 of 21 on 3-pointers in the first half (19 percent), one of the main reasons they trailed 65-45 at halftime.
40: Second quarter point total by Minnesota, which used the scoring outburst to take control.
WHO STARTED: Brandon Ingram, Naji Marshall, Wily Hernangomez, Garrett Temple and Devonte' Graham.
WHO DIDN'T PLAY: Starting forward Zion Williamson, who is not expected to play the entire preseason after right foot surgery, and center Jonas Valanciunas (right thumb sprain), both sat out the game for the Pelicans.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Pelicans make their 2021-22 debut appearance at the Smoothie King Center at 7 p.m. Wednesday with a game against the Orlando Magic. Find Pelicans-Magic tickets here