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2019 NBA Preseason Game 3: Pelicans vs. Jazz Postgame Quotes 10-11-19

HEAD COACH ALVIN GENTRY
On fourth quarter comebacks:
“We are playing hard. I thought our defense was great. We held them to 60 the second half. That was an improvement from the first half. No, we have to get better in our defense, but we’re trying to put in a new system and this team is not a good team to play when you don’t have all of your defense in. They shot the ball extremely well. The thing I think I like the most about our guys right now is that we keep playing and plugging away at it. It doesn’t matter who we have in, we seem to find a way to keep ourselves at least in touch so that when we do make a run we can put ourselves back in the game. (The Utah Jazz) shot the ball unbelievably well. First half I think they were 70 percent from three (point line), 70 percent for the game. For us to be able to just stay in and plug away at it. I thought we did a pretty good job during the stretch there to end up taking the lead. They’re a heck of a team and with a lot of the guys that are going to play. I think that was good for our guys.”

On Nickeil Alexander-Walker and his smooth play:
“You know he really is and to be honest with you, it’s not a surprise to us after being around him like we have. He’s a really confident player. Confident borderline cockiness. I think you almost have to have that in this league to survive, especially as a 19 year-old kid. Doesn’t play like a 19 year-old, has a good grasp of what we want to do, and not afraid of the big moments like I said the other night. I thought his defense was good also. Good all-around player. I think he’ll continue to get better. It was good to see Jaxson (Hayes) out on the floor so we could get him a few minutes. Obviously he’s got a ways to go, but he did some good things out there as a high energy guy. That was really good. I was happy with the way Zion (Williamson) and Zo (Lonzo Ball) played tonight as well. They did a really, really good job. Especially Zo, he did a good job of taking shots that were available and not hesitantly. Once again, I thought Zion did a great job of taking himself to the basket and being able to finish even over (Rudy) Gobert a few times, which is not easy to do.”

FORWARD ZION WILLIAMSON
On what he thought of Nickeil Alexander-Walker’s performance tonight:
“Nickeil is a bucket, let’s just put that on the record. Nickeil Alexander-Walker is a bucket…He facilitates the game very well and I feel like he always makes the right play and he puts the team before himself, and I respect that.”

On Nickeil Alexander-Walker’s skill and maturity in the game:
“You know I played against Nickeil in high school and even then he had that kind of maturity attitude about him. He was always calm and he never really forced [anything] and he just facilitated the game.”

On the large crowds in the preseason:
“All preseason games have been pretty hyped. I didn’t expect it, either. I think it shows that the Pelicans are up to something over here. We’re not bowing down.

GUARD NICKEIL ALEXANDER-WALKER
On what he thinks of the mix of the offense tonight:
“Just kind of going with the flow. The course of the game and kind of get the feel and just playing with confidence. All of my teammates, if it wasn’t for them giving me so much confidence I probably wouldn’t have made half the plays I made. They are behind me 100 percent and I appreciate that from them. The vets, they were kind of giving me “free game” in a sense and I’m just trying to implement it.”

On how he thinks Zion performed tonight:
“I am a Zion believer and whatever he does I will be right behind him 100 percent. If he wants to shoot wide open threes and knock it down, then by all means keep doing that. It’s only going to make him harder to guard and the team better.”

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