Welcome to New Orleans, Stan Van Gundy. In his Pelican’s coaching debut, Van Gundy handed the Toronto Raptors their first home opener loss in seven years. Despite a solid start, a balanced offensive effort by the Pelicans lifted the team to the win.
Five Pelicans scored in double-digits, with Brandon Ingram and JJ Redick leading the way with 24 and 23 points respectively. Lonzo Ball added 16 points, with Zion Williamson contributing 15 points and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes of action. In his Pelicans debut, Eric Bledsoe had 18 points on 50% shooting. He averaged 16.2 points in his 3 seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Pelicans put the game away in the second half, outscoring the Raptors 63-42 in the final 24 minutes. Toronto gave up 19 three’s and turned the ball over 20 times, which led to 25 New Orlean’s points.
Pascal Siakam led the Raptors with 20 points and shot 3 of 7 from deep. Kyle Lowry notched his first double double of the season (18 points & 10 assists), while Aron Baynes scored 11 points in his debut. Toronto’s newly acquired centre went 5 of 9 from the field with 9 rebounds. It was a tough night for Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby; the two struggled from the field, shooting a combined 32%.
Off the bench: Chris Boucher had a solid night, scoring 12 points on 6 of 8 shooting, in 14 minutes of action. Matt Thomas went 3 of 5 from deep.
Next up… Toronto faces former Raptor, DeMar DeRozan and the San Antonio Spurs on Boxing Day.