Preseason postgame recap: Pelicans 108, Bulls 95

BOXSCORE || PHOTOS || QUOTES || VIDEOS

Pelicans (1-2), Bulls (2-2)

CHICAGO – Chicago native Anthony Davis delivered a monster scoring and rebounding performance. Fellow Windy City product Tony Allen made his Pelicans preseason debut. Meanwhile, ex-Bulls point guard and current Pelicans floor general Rajon Rondo was out due to injury. The Chicago connections were plentiful in Sunday’s exhibition game at the United Center, where New Orleans prevailed on the scoreboard, but received bad news beforehand, with Rondo sidelined due to a sports hernia. The team’s most important free-agent addition will visit a Philadelphia specialist Monday to determine his prognosis and when he can return to action.

Davis piled up 37 points and 15 rebounds in what amounted to New Orleans’ final full-fledged tune-up for the regular season. The Pelicans visit Memphis in their preseason finale Friday, but aren’t expected to give their starters significant minutes. The regular season begins Oct. 18 also at Memphis.

Afterward, Davis expressed the hope that Rondo will return without having to miss too much of the regular season. “The good thing is it’s nothing too serious, where he’s out for a long time,” Davis said. “Four to six weeks, then he can come back and get right into back into the rotation and be ready to play.”

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

New Orleans reserve Darius Miller connected on a four-point play with 6:53 remaining, giving the Pelicans a 93-76 advantage. Miller also nailed a trey on a previous possession, as the visitors took command for the first time Sunday.

PELICANS PLAYER UPDATES

E’Twaun Moore moved into the starting lineup in place of the injured Rondo, forming a familiar backcourt combination with Jrue Holiday. The pairing was on the floor a significant amount in 2016-17. With Moore moving into the first string, Ian Clark’s role off the bench could become even more vital. …

DeMarcus Cousins nearly pulled off an extreme statistical rarity, coming up one rebound and one assist shy of a preseason triple-double. The three-time All-Star was a hub of the New Orleans offense all night and registered 22 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. …

Holiday’s role without Rondo obviously will change as well, with him likely going back to playing on the ball more frequently. He produced 19 points and three assists against the Bulls, sometimes squaring off against his older brother, Justin.

QUOTES TO NOTE

“We’re getting better at that. The one thing we keep emphasizing is we’ve got to have spacing on the floor. You can’t be on top of our bigs. I thought we did a better job than the last game, and as long as that’s the case, we’ll continue to improve.” – Gentry on the Pelicans playing effectively off Davis and Cousins

“We did a great job defensively, against a team that can shoot the ball very well from three. We did a great job of making them take some tough shots. Offensively, we finally got into our groove.” – Davis on the Pelicans’ success at both ends of the floor

“The change just happened. We’ve got a couple more days of practice to get used to playing with each other and get our chemistry down.” – Moore on learning today that he would be replacing Rondo in the starting lineup, after Moore had previously come off the bench

BY THE NUMBERS

22/23: Davis foul shooting. He was perfect in his initial 22 tosses before finally misfiring near the end of the third quarter.

11/41: Chicago three-point shooting, a big improvement defensively for New Orleans compared to Tuesday’s home loss against the Bulls.

21: Pelicans turnovers. New Orleans improved in this category as Sunday’s game progressed, but it’s still an area that bears watching. The guests committed eight in the first period.

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