New Orleans entered 2019-20 with NBA analysts exhibiting excitement about the Pelicans’ talented crop of young players, but on Thursday a group of grizzled veterans led the way. With the team’s planned starting five nowhere near intact, fourth-fifths of the first string was comprised of NOLA’s four most experienced pros – JJ Redick, Jrue Holiday, Derrick Favors and E’Twaun Moore. All at least in their ninth NBA season, the quartet made sure the Pelicans would prevail against one of the West’s most highly touted teams, in the season debut of wing Paul George. The foursome combined to 90 points, paced by one of the top scoring games of Holiday’s career.
After a couple late scratches due to injury, New Orleans was down to only 10 players in uniform Thursday, playing against LA without the team’s first-, third-, fifth- and seventh-leading scorers.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Frank Jackson took a moment to gain his balance, then drilled a three-pointer from the right wing, doubling New Orleans’ lead at 129-123 with just 28 seconds left. Redick tacked on a couple insurance free throws in the final seconds to keep it a two-possession margin.
PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Holiday powered New Orleans to a double-digit first-half lead and wound up with a season-best 36 points, the first time he cleared the 20-point mark this season. His offensive eruption was highlighted by 5/7 three-point accuracy, the second time he’s made exactly five treys – both of those instances resulted in Pelicans home victories. Holiday also made some timely stops while defending George. In addition to Holiday’s stellar night, Favors registered 20 points and 20 rebounds, the first 20-20 game of his NBA career and the most boards he’s even compiled in one game.
For all eight Thursday games throughout New Orleans’ regular season, we’ll be selecting a Pelicans player we think will most exceed his season average in made three-pointers that night. Daniel Sallerson selected Frank Jackson, while Jim Eichenhofer picked JJ Redick. In a fan poll among four other candidates, Nickeil Alexander-Walker was chosen. The winner of the second contest was Sallerson, after Jackson went 4/7 from the arc, easily surpassing his prior season average of 1.2 (Redick matched his exactly by canning three treys). As a result, the season standings are now Daniel 1, Jim 1, Fans 0. Sallerson and Eichenhofer cannot repeat a player among any of the first four Thursday games.
Oct. 31 vs. Denver, Jim – Jrue Holiday (Daniel pick: JJ Redick; Fans: Lonzo Ball)