The New Orleans Pelicans finished the opening period of their summer league game against the Charlotte Hornets leading 25-5, and then held on the rest of the way to a third consecutive victory in Las Vegas.
Dereon Seabron led four Pelicans in double figures with 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the floor. After going 1-for-6 for 10 points in the opening loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Seabron has averaged 19 points per game, while making 64.7 percent of his field goal attempts.
Dyson Daniels scored 16 points, making 10 of his 12 free throw attempts. He continues to be rewarded for his aggressive play on offense. In four games he’s reached the charity stripe 29 times, and has converted 21 of those attempts (72.4%). Last season Daniels averaged fewer than two free throw attempts per 100 possession and shot just 65% from the line.
First round selection Jordan Hawkins struggled to make anything for the second straight game. Though he finished with nine points and eight rebounds, Hawkins made only two of his 13 shot attempts. Over his last two games, he’s shooting 3-for-25 including 2-of-12 from beyond the arc.
The Pelicans probably got their best total effort from their frontcourt of the tournament so far.
Karlo Matkovic, EJ Liddell, and Garrison Brooks made the most of their minutes. The trio combined for 29 points, 11 boards, five steals, and four blocks. New Orleans was +11 overall with them on the floor.
Second overall pick Brandon Miller did not play for the Hornets. They were paced by the play of James Bouknight, who led all scorers with 28 points. Bryce McGowans added 19, and Charlotte’s other first-rounder, Nick Smith Jr., finished with 12.
Even at 3-1 the Pelicans are still not assured of a spot in the semifinals. With eight games remaining on Friday, there are currently three undefeated teams (Cleveland, Houston, Utah), three teams with 3-1 records, and nine sitting at 2-1. With the tiebreakers being settled by point differential, New Orleans is at a severe disadvantage. The Pels are 12th in that category at +2.3. Even if they doubled it, they’d still be ninth.
No matter what, there will be one more game to play before the Pelicans fly home from the desert. Las Vegas has certainly been good to them. Since the start of Willie Green’s tenure, the summer Pels have a win-loss record of 11-3.
It doesn’t mean a lot, but it’s a lot better than the alternative.
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