Preseason postgame wrap: Raptors 134, Pelicans 119

by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

Raptors (4-1), Pelicans (0-5)

New Orleans might have preferred to win at least once during preseason, but ultimately the results of the five-game exhibition slate are irrelevant. Toronto handed the Pelicans a high-scoring defeat Thursday behind a slew of lesser-known players, opting to sit major contributors such as Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka. New Orleans relied heavily on prominent roster members – at least for three quarters – and had some quality stretches offensively, but yielded too much at the other end of the floor.

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

Toronto extended what was a 101-96 edge through three periods into a double-digit advantage in the final minutes.

PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

Anthony Davis put up regular season-type numbers in a preseason dress rehearsal, registering 36 points and 15 rebounds in 31 minutes of action. Davis was efficient with a 13/18 shooting night, including going 2/3 on three-pointers. Coming off the bench for the first time in preseason, Julius Randle powered his way to 20 points and 11 rebounds in 25 minutes.

POSITIONAL FOCUS: POWER FORWARD

When it was mentioned during pregame Thursday that the NBA’s general managers voted Davis as the league’s best center, Alvin Gentry quickly and wryly responded, “He’s a power forward.” People will understandably spend some of the 2018-19 season trying to determine if Davis is a center – the same will be true at times for Randle and Nikola Mirotic – but it ultimately won’t matter what position they’re officially playing. New Orleans now has enviable depth at the two big positions, with three talented players capable of logging significant minutes, eating up a large chunk of the playing time there. The Pelicans know what Davis and Mirotic are capable of, based on their tremendous close to last season, but Randle is learning how best to play off of those new teammates. Randle has begun launching more perimeter shots in preseason, particularly when he’s paired with Davis, but probably will spend time in the paint when Mirotic is his on-court partner. Further down the depth chart, bigs like Cheick Diallo and Jahlil Okafor also could contribute this season, but it may be tougher for frontcourt reserves to get on the floor than it was in ’17-18.

BY THE NUMBERS

53.0: Toronto shooting percentage from the field. Backups C.J. Miles, Eric Moreland and Kay Felder combined to go 18/26.

136: Total points in the paint for the Raptors and Pelicans, an extremely high number. Gentry noted afterward that he was concerned by Toronto getting open threes (14 of 32 from the arc) while also thriving around the rim (70 paint points).

+4, +3: Plus-minus for Jrue Holiday and Davis, respectively. Though the Pelicans lost by 15, they held a slight upper hand with their two best players on the court.

Pelicans vs. Raptors Postgame: Julius Randle 10-11-18

Julius Randle talks about how the Pelicans plan to improve their defense before moving into the regular season.

Preseason Game 5: Pelicans vs. Raptors 10/11/18

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Pelicans vs. Raptors Postgame: Julius Randle 10-11-18

Julius Randle talks about how the Pelicans plan to improve their defense before moving into the regular season.
Oct 11, 2018  |  01:09

Pelicans vs. Raptors Postgame: Head Coach Alvin Gentry 10-11-18

Head Coach Alvin Gentry speaks to the media following the Pelicans final preseason game against the Toronto Raptors.
Oct 11, 2018  |  06:32

Anthony Davis Slams in Slo-Mo

Check out the sweet look from Jrue to AD in slow motion.
Oct 11, 2018  |  00:11

Davis With the Put Back Slam

Anthony Davis shows up with the putback slam.
Oct 11, 2018  |  00:00

Holiday Lays It In

Jrue Holiday drives to the basket and finishes with a left-handed layup.
Oct 11, 2018  |  00:00

Davis Hooks It Home

Anthony Davis gets the ball in the post for a turnaround hook shot.
Oct 11, 2018  |  00:00

Holiday Feeds To Davis For The Slam

Anthony Davis finishes with a two-handed slam plus the foul.
Oct 11, 2018  |  00:00

Pelicans vs. Raptors Pregame: Head Coach Alvin Gentry 10-11-18

Head Coach Alvin Gentry previews tonight's final preseason game against the Toronto Raptors.
Oct 11, 2018  |  06:25