The Birds are the word and it’s time to take flight. The Pelican’s season kicked off against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday (10.27) night. They lost against the defending champions, 111-95. Fortunately it’s an 82 game season and in no way, fate has been written.
The opening night win was impressive for the Golden State Warriors, but the Pelican’s were down to nine players, due to injuries and restricted minute players. The Pelicans trailed the Warriors in almost the entirety of the fast-paced game. Steph Curry, former MVP and championship winning point guard, found his stroke early on and scored 22 points in the first. Alas, Anthony Davis struggled to find his rhythm, scoring 18 points despite shooting 4 for 20 from the field. Behind AD, new guard Ish Smith scored 17, followed by Gordon with 14 and Cunningham with 13. Last night was Smith’s debut playing with the Pelicans. He stood up to the challenge and led the team with 9 assists.
In spite of the opening game loss, the Pelicans are ready to forge ahead, facing the Portland Trailblazers tonight. The Pelicans pre-season, seven game run ended with a 3-4 record and a slew of injured players. Whether the fault lies with the new quicker strategy or lack of proper athletic training, fact is that the Pels lineup has been altered by pre-season injuries. Tyreke Evans, Alexis Ajinca, Quincy Pondexter, Luke Babbitt, Omer Asik and Norris Cole are all unable to play the opening of the 2015-16 season due to various injuries. Jrue Holiday is also on restricted playing-time minutes due to his ankle injury that restricted most of last years season. In a flurry of trades and releases, the Pelicans have acquired Nate Robinson and Ish Smith to round out the 15-player roster. Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, Jrue Holiday, Dante Cunningham and Kendrick Perkins are projected starters.
The expectations are extremely high for Anthony Davis and the new coaching staff this season. At a pivotal point in the Borw’s career, pundits are predicting thatAD will grow exponentially, lead his team and carry the franchise. Davis did not disappoint in pre-season, leading the Pelicans in points and carrying the Pels on both the offensive and defensive sides of the court. He scored a high of 33 points against the Orlando Magic and 26 points against the Chicago Bulls. It is too early to predict how much damage the pre-season injuries will have on the outcome of the season. Although impaired by injuries, coming out of pre-season with a healthy Davis and a revamped style of play, it is time for the Pelicans to spread their wings. The long season ahead gives time for Anthony Davis and the team to find their rhythm, make plays, and soar on their journey towards the playoffs.
Tonight the Pelicans face the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland at 9 PM CT. This Saturday, October 31st the Pelicans will make their debut home court appearance against the Golden State Warriors. The Halloween evening game will tip off at 630 PM CT. The Smoothie King Arena is featuring new television screens and enhanced renovations. NBA excitement is in the air and the New Orleans Pelicans are ready to fly.