Buddy Hield looks for room against Orlando defender Evan Fournier during preseason

Pelicans shootaround presented by HUB International: Bench looks to build on Boston win

by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

ORLANDO – A common complaint during New Orleans’ 0-8 start was that the Pelicans weren’t getting enough production from sources beyond Anthony Davis. While that certainly was true over the first two weeks of the season, it’s changed a bit in the last three games. The New Orleans bench is actually now above average statistically in a few key categories, including ranking ninth among the 30 NBA teams in scoring average (37.7 points per game) and sixth in rebounding average (18.5).

Those statistics improved significantly Monday in a 106-105 win over Boston, when the team’s reserves combined to score 57 points, which was eight more than the starters and represented the best second-unit effort of the season. Langston Galloway delivered a season-high 21 points, while Terrence Jones notched a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double. Solomon Hill and and Archie Goodwin contributed nine and eight points, respectively.

New Orleans’ subs also scored 32 points in Thursday’s victory at Milwaukee, followed by 49 against in the loss to the Lakers on Saturday.

“It was huge,” starting point guard Tim Frazier said of the bench in the Boston victory.

The recent trend of improved play has been most personified by Galloway, who shot 0/9 from three-point range in the first four games of the season, but is 15/33 since, or 45.5 percent. Meanwhile Hill, who started the first eight games at small forward, appears to have benefited from the change to a reserve role. Although he had a quiet, scoreless game vs. the Lakers, in the Pelicans’ two victories he’s averaged 8.5 points and 6.5 rebounds. With E’Twaun Moore sidelined Monday against Boston due to a toe injury, Buddy Hield moved into the starting lineup at least for one game, but prior to that Hield had posted double-digit points off the bench in five of the last seven outings.

“Guys have just been trying to understand their role a little bit better, and come in aggressive when they know it’s their opportunity,” Jones said. “We want to bring a lot of energy off the bench and bring something to give the starting group a spark if they need it.”

Other notes from shootaround at Amway Center:

Alvin Gentry said he expects Moore to play tonight after missing Monday’s game. Moore is the team’s second-leading scorer at 12.5 points per game.

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