Final score: Pelicans 149, Kings 129
New Orleans Pelicans
- Anthony Davis might be right when he says he’s the best player in the NBA now. He did some of everything in this game on his way to a modest 25 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks in 27 minutes of work.
- One of the many reasons Davis should be a pleasure to play with is that he can make your bad passes look good. He caught a couple of alley-oops that weren’t on-point, but his length, leaping ability, timing, hands and mid-air body control turned them into assists when they could’ve easily been turnovers.
- Nikola Mirotic didn’t do a variety of things like Davis; he simply killed the Kings with his shooting. He had a game-high 36 points on 14-of-21 shooting, including 5 threes-pointers.
- The Pelicans are really at their best when they’re constantly attacking the basket and looking to score in the paint. And if someone like Mirotic is hot from the outside? That’s a bonus that leads to things like almost scoring 150 points. The Lakers should be watching this team and taking notes.
- I’m a big college basketball fan, but the Pelicans’ court design is too college-y for the NBA. Then again, New Orleans as a city tends to put that extra flourish on everything.
- If Julius Randle was a guard, he’d be Lance Stephenson. He picked up two fouls in his first minute on the court and probably should have earned a technical for how he argued the second call. But NOLA coach Alvin Gentry left Randle in the game despite the two quick whistles, and he proceeded to show why he’s an early candidate for Sixth Man of the Year. He had 13 points and 14 rebounds and was all energy on the floor.
- Marvin Bagley only played 12 minutes in the season opener and showed a couple flashes of future greatness. On Friday, he got 33 minutes, which included some 1-on-1 matchups with Davis, and he pretty much confirmed that he’s gonna be real good. He had 19 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals.
- One of Bagley’s favorite moves is the spin. But he also has a fake-spin counter move that he’s used to score on good defenders. He’s a very high-IQ player for a 19-year-old rookie.
- If you heard a commotion at approximately 5:35 p.m. West Coast time, that was both the Kings and Pelicans executive leadership fainting when Bagley and Davis got their legs tangled up and fell hard to the floor.
- Willie Cauley-Stein got off to a great start, but wound up on the bench when he got two fouls in the first five minutes. One positive takeaway is that when Cauley-Stein (20 points, 7 boards) got back in after a long rest, he didn’t see to miss a beat.
- Through Sacramento’s first two games, Buddy Hield has been carrying himself like he wants to be The Guy. Not just offensively, but also defensively. There was one play on Friday when the Pelicans had a breakaway layup, and where most defenders would concede those two points, Hield chased it down and stripped the ball away.
- Harry Giles has a nice little face-up game at power forward. He even hit a Tim Duncan-esque bank shot from the post. Giles’ passing is also as good as advertised. When he was practicing with the team last season while being held out of game action, there were several reports of coaches and teammates being impressed with his playmaking skill. So far this season he’s been showing it with at least one great pass per game.
- Frank Mason III looks like the fifth member of R&B group Pretty Ricky.