Sunday, 26 May, 2019

Pelicans rout Rockets in season opener

Embedded Image Davis shines as Pelicans rout Rockets in season opener
Cary Erickson | 19 October, 2018, 06:31

While not someone who makes excuses for a poor performance, the 10-time All-Star admitted afterwards that transitioning from a starting role throughout his career to coming off the bench with the Houston Rockets won't be easy.

Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul (3) is fouled as he drives into New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018, in Houston. Inefficient shooting, a decreased ability to draw fouls and a constantly regressing effort on defense led to the worst season of his career previous year.

Harden, Paul, and Gordon were the Rockets primary ball handlers last season. Whether he starts games or not is unlikely to be an issue, for now, but what if he doesn't finish games, what if he's only playing 15 minutes a game?

Clint Capela vs. Anthony Davis is always a fun matchup. He assisted on 44.9 percent of his teammates' made shots.

League Most Valuable Player James Harden flirted with a triple double, finishing with 18 points, 10 assists and 9 rebounds, but it wasn't enough as the Rockets failed to match New Orleans' season-opening intensity, especially on defense.

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That may have to wait until after Wednesday, as the Rockets may prove to be a bit too much for the Pelicans to handle. Can Anthony Davis stay healthy and lead them to the postseason? D'Antoni said he is confident his team will be able to build on last season where the Rockets allowed the seventh-fewest points in the league. He's a 25 percent shooter from deep over his career, and that number has gone down over the years.

"We moved the basketball and we made shots, but we put our hats on and defended", Davis said. They led 35-29 at the end of the first quarter and 71-64 at halftime. Those numbers are not almost high enough to justify saying Yes, even if I think Houston takes a slightly higher percentage of twos with Mbah a Moute and Ariza gone.

NO. Harden averaged 10.1 free throw attempts per game last season, there there is no reason to believe he will average significantly more than that this season. Pelicans' opponents averaged 14.5 turnovers per game compared to 14.5 for the Rockets.

But it should be clear by now: Davis comes to play as soon as the season tips. The Toronto Raptors traded away their best player and somehow got better.