Preseason postgame wrap: Pelicans 133, Hawks 109
Pelicans (1-0 in preseason), Hawks (0-1)
ATLANTA – Nearly exactly a year ago, New Orleans played Atlanta in a sparsely-attended preseason game that few people paid much attention to, even across the NBA. This wasn’t that.
In Zion Williamson’s unofficial pro debut, the No. 1 overall pick generated a series of highlight-reel dunks in front of a national audience, in a Monday game that was also covered by outlets such as ESPN and the Los Angeles Times. Williamson did not disappoint, finishing with 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 28 minutes. In a matchup of the NBA's two fastest-paced teams from last season - as well as clubs that were much better offensively than defensively throughout 2018-19 - New Orleans outran and overpowered Atlanta, holding a significant upper hand in the second and third quarters.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
New Orleans had 110 points on the scoreboard even though there were 11-plus minutes remaining in regulation. The Pelicans pulled away from the Hawks with a 46-point second quarter and kept piling it on in the third period.
PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Just about everyone played well for New Orleans, making it difficult to select only one Pelican. Jahlil Okafor’s name probably got lost in the shuffle at times this summer, with New Orleans making a number of headline-generating transactions. However, the center has been praised by teammates throughout the lead-up to the season for performing extremely well in voluntary workouts and training camp. One of only six returning Pelicans players, Okafor began preseason in stellar fashion, dominating Atlanta in the paint and on the backboards, totaling 11 points and six rebounds in 15 minutes. The Duke product helped set the tone early as the Pelicans went up big. Brandon Ingram picked it up from there in the second half, posting 19 total points in 23 minutes. Jrue Holiday had 21 points on only nine shots from the field.
BY THE NUMBERS
6: New Orleans players in double-digit scoring. Three Pelicans did it while playing less than 20 minutes; Nickeil Alexander-Walker netted 12 points in 15 minutes.
81: Pelicans points in the middle quarters, meaning they scored more than three points per minute in that 24-minute span.
17/45: New Orleans three-point shooting. Atlanta nearly matched the propensity to fire from deep, launching 41 treys and making 14.
Block by Zylan Cheatham
2019 Preseason: Game 1 at Hawks
October 07, 2019: New Orleans Pelicans vs. Atlanta Hawks - Highlights of Zylan Cheatham
October 07, 2019: New Orleans Pelicans vs. Atlanta Hawks - Highlights of Zion Williamson, Jrue Holiday, Lonzo Ball, Trae Young, Jabari Parker, Jahlil Okafor, Nicolo Melli, DeAndre' Bembry, Vince Carter, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Hawks
Highlights of Jrue Holiday, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Kenrich Williams, JJ Redick, Nicolo Melli, Brandon Ingram, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker draining 3's against the Atlanta Hawks in game 1 of the 2019 NBA preseason.
Highlights from Jrue Holiday's 2019 preseason debut as the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Atlanta Hawks 133-109 in game 1 of the 2019 NBA preseason. Jrue Holiday scored 21 points to go with 3 assists, 1 steal, and 1 assist.
Highlights from Zion Williamson's NBA debut as the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Atlanta Hawks 133-109 in game 1 of the 2019 NBA preseason. Zion Williamson scored 16 points and added 7 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 assists.
Highlights from Brandon Ingram's preseason debut with the New Orleans Pelicans as they defeated the Atlanta Hawks 133-109 in game 1 of the 2019 NBA preseason. Brandon Ingram scored 19 points and added 6 rebounds, 1 steals, and 1 assist.
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson postgame interview following the Pelicans' 133-109 victory over the Atlanta Hawks in game 1 of the 2019 NBA preseason.
New Orleans Pelicans Head Coach Alvin Gentry postgame media availability following the Pelicans' 133-109 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball connects from deep during preseason.
Pelicans forward Kenrich Williams feeds Zion Williamson down the lane for the slam.
Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday puts the moves on the Hawks defense and finishes with the left hand.
Pelicans forward Zion Williamson goes strong to the rim and finishes with the monster slam.
Pelicans forward Zion Williamson rises up for a big dunk off the feed from Lonzo Ball.
Head Coach Alvin Gentry announces the starting line up for the Pelicans preseason opener against the Atlanta Hawks.
Pelicans forward Zion Williamson speaks to the media prior to his first NBA preseason game of the 2019-20 season in Atlanta.