Day One of NBA Exhibition Games: What we Learned (Part Two)

First up, I'll analyze the Pelicans blowout, how the Pelicans did it, and how the Nets can recover and improve from this loss. I'm just going to get this out of the way now, the Pelicans shot very well from the field, three point rage, and the free throw line, and the Nets ultimately struggled from everywhere, not being able to shoot over 40% from the field nor over 30% from three. Turnovers were also a big problem for the Nets, as they finished the game with 21, the Pelicans only had 12.. Fouling was also a problem for the Nets as they finished the game with 25, the Nets only had 14. Now I will break it down into individual performances. Caris LeVert, the man everyone thought was going to step up and be the new leader and star player for the team, took 18 shots, and only converted 5 of them, he missed all 6 of his threes. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot didn't do much better, only shooting 30% from the field and 16.7% from three, he also took 6 shots from deep and only converted 1. Jarrett Allen had a solid game, and I think the coaching staff will definitely want him to shoot the ball more, as he shoots it with high efficiency. He went 4/5 and also grabbed 10 rebounds. Another man I'm sure they would like to see step up is Chris Chiozza. He had done alright when he played with the Nets during the regular season, but against the Pelicans he only went 2/9, he took 7 three pointers and the only two shots he made were threes. He certainly didn't help in the turnover column as he had 4. The man of the Nets was honestly Rodions Kurucs as he finished the game hitting 2/5 three pointers (that's 40%) and overall from the field he went 50%. He also chipped in 3 steals and a block. Turnovers and fouls are going to be the big thing for him to focus on though. He only played 20 minutes but he also had 4 turnovers and 4 fouls as well.


As for the Pelicans, Brandon Ingram of course came out with a good showing, as he scored 12 points in just 11 minutes off of terrific shooting numbers. Ingram wasn't viewed as a deep threat, but teams might have to pay more attention as he shot 60% from three with 5 attempts. Jaxson Hayes may not have had it going on the offensive end (1/3) but he had it going on the defensive end as he finished the game with 3 blocks. I think that Hayes in the future will be primarily used as a paint defender and with the shooters and playmakers New Orleans has right now, I think that's a good idea and I think Hayes is a great fit for this team. JJ Redick may have shot horrible from the field but Lonzo Ball had it going from three as he shot 40% from three with 5 attempts. I think one man they need to get control of is Nickeil Alexander-Walker. He's aggressive, which can be good, but up to a point. Alexander-Walker crossed that limit. He shot the ball 15 times, only making 6 of those, he took 6 three point shots, only making one, and although he had two blocks and a steal, he had 3 turnovers and 4 fouls. In just 21 minutes, 4 fouls is definitely a problem. I've seen this before with Alexander-Walker when he played in the G-League, he just takes so many shots and doesn't convert as many as he needs to in order to move up in the depth chart.


The man of the night, E'Twaun Moore. He only played 13:47 but he came away with 14 points from 62.5% shooting from the field with 8 shots, and he made both of his threes (2). He also managed to snag 2 steals. Two surprises were Jahlil Okafor and Sindarius Thornwell. Okafor went 5/7 from the floor (71.4%) in just 10:45. Definitely a promising sign that Okafor can still do things for this team. I included Thornwell in there because despite the fact he's 6'4, he blocked 2 shots in just 9 minutes, he also came away with a steal.


Obviously, the man of the night for the Heat, and ultimately that game, was Duncan Robinson. He only shot 8 three pointers and he made 5 of them, that means he shot 62.5% from three. He also knocked down all three of his free throws. Jimmy Butler shot 50% from the field with 4 attempts and he also made all of his free throws, 5 in counting. Goran Dragic had a good shooting night as he knocked down half of his threes and overall shot 66.7% from the field. He only played 11 minutes, but he had 3 turnovers, I know when he was on the court, he was the main ball handler, bust still something he should work on. Tyler Herro really just came out throwing up everything. He took a total of 14 shots, and he only hit 5 of them (35.7%). He missed all 7 of his threes. He also turned the ball over 4 times. The only bright spot to his night was how well he shot from the free throw line (5/5). It looked like Andre Iguodala was back! He shot 50% from three with 4 attempts and also went 3/6 from the field. Ultimately everybody else except for Derrick Jones Jr. and Meyers Leonard had a dismal night of shooting (25% or less). In the end, the game really just came down to free throws. The Heat shot an excellent 89.7% from the line with 26 makes, the Kings only made 19, and that is what sealed the deal.


In the upcoming days I will continue to analyze how teams' first games went and instead of doing that for every game, I will soon be doing NBA game previews (not for all games), so you can tune in to The Up Dawg to see what I think will happen on game night.



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