There were some takeaways from the New Orleans Pelicans’ opening night overtime loss to the Toronto Raptors.
Was Jrue Holiday trying to set the table?
With a roster filled with new faces, the Pelicans veteran guard may have been trying to acclimate the rest of the roster to the offense before taking over himself.
Holiday played 41 minutes and there were some turnover issues for the team’s leader trying to get everyone involved. He recorded six assists against the Raptors. He also had five turnovers. In addition to the passing struggles, it was an off-night shooting. Holiday made six shots on 15 attempts and he was 1-for-6 from the 3-point line.
It seemed Holiday wanted to get the new players adjusted to the team before being the offensive aggressor and that might have been why he had an overall inefficient game on that side of the ball.
Brandon Ingram and the new Pels
Speaking of those new Pelicans, Brandon Ingram showed what he is capable of in last night’s loss. Ingram led the team in scoring with 22 points on 8-of-19 shooting from the field. He also added five rebounds and five assists.
Nicolo Melli and Josh Hart also played well in their minutes. The New Orleans bench unit provided some punch with Melli shooting 4-of-5 from three and Josh Hart recording 15 points and 10 rebounds. Let’s not forget JJ Redick. He made four threes and he was second on the team in scoring with 16 points.
The other Pelicans’ debuts were not as productive. Rookie Nickeil Alexander-Walker shot only 1-of-10 from the field, while rookie Jaxson Hayes did not play against the Raptors (coach’s decision). Lonzo Ball did a little bit of everything with eight points, five rebounds and five assists but did not see a lot of playing time in the second half. Ball was limited to 25 total minutes.
Experience decided the game
The New Orleans Pelicans blew multiple double-digit leads throughout the contest and the Raptors rallied back from those deficits to send the game to overtime. When it hit overtime, it was the Raptors returning players Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet showing they could close out a game.
The Pelicans rolled out 12 players in the game, while the Raptors kept a tight rotation by only playing eight.
New Orleans is going to have to find which lineups work best together. That’ll come with the experience they’ll gain during the season. You saw what the Pelicans can do when they start gelling. New Orleans had 30 assists on 43 field goals last night.
There were some parts of the Pelican’s opening night game that left a good impression. Other parts, like Holiday’s aggressiveness and the rookie play, are to be determined as the season goes on. Overall, it was a good showing for a New Orleans team that played their first regular season together after an offseason roster turnaround.