Pelicans shootaround update: Garrett Temple not expected to play vs. Kings

Garrett Temple was making his biggest impact of the young season during the first half of Wednesday’s game vs. Atlanta, when an ankle sprain ended his night after he logged just nine minutes. The 12-year NBA veteran is disappointed by the timing of injury, but spoke matter-of-factly about the unfortunately reality of the sport at Friday’s shootaround.

“I’m 35 years old, playing basketball,” Temple said. “So I’ve had multiple ankle sprains. That’s just part of the game.

“I was feeling good, getting my rhythm, so you hate to see it happen like that. But I think that (experience of scoring six points vs. Atlanta and sparking the bench was) good for me to have when I’m ready to get back on the court.”

With Temple expected to be sidelined this weekend, his double-figure minutes average will need to be picked up by another Pelican. New Orleans’ starting group is already playing big minutes, making it perhaps more likely that a fellow reserve is on the court more vs. Sacramento and New York over the next 48 hours.

Other notes from shootaround:

Temple on why New Orleans’ defense has been better in a pair of Week 2 games, compared to the team’s 0-3 start in Week 1: “Attention to detail, but also not turning the ball over as much. Taking good shots allows our defense to get back and play in the halfcourt. We’re a really good halfcourt defensive team.” ,,,

Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox did far too much damage in his three games vs. New Orleans last season, averaging 41.3 points and scoring at least 38 in every contest.

New Orleans ranks No. 10 in three-point percentage (35.2), but other aspects of the attack have struggled while playing without Zion Williamson, including free throws made (No. 26 in the NBA at 12.8 per game) and field goal percentage (No. 26 at 42.5). The Pelicans do believe they are creating enough open shots, but need to make them at a higher rate.

“Just sticking with it,” Naji Marshall said of the offensive focus. “We’re missing some good shots.” …

New Orleans’ bench ignited the Smoothie King Center crowd in the first half of Wednesday’s loss to Atlanta, something the Pelicans want to see from the second unit at every opportunity.

“We’ve got to be that spark, come in energized on defense,” Marshall said. “I think we did our job (against Atlanta). If we keep doing that, the sky’s the limit.”


Offensive efficiency rank: 13 (107.8)

Defensive efficiency rank: 24 (111.2)

Net rating: 21 (-3.4)

Pace: 8 (102.63)

Streak: Won 1

Go-to guy: What’s gotten into Kings forward Harrison Barnes? In his 10th NBA season, the North Carolina product is off to a phenomenal start, averaging a team-high 26.8 points through four games, highlighted by 36 at Portland in Sacramento’s season-opening victory and a game-winning three to beat Phoenix. Barnes has never averaged 20 points in a full season, but he’s deposited at least 22 points in each contest of 2021-22. He’s shooting 51 percent from the field and a scorching 52 percent on three-pointers.

On the rise: Kings rookie guard Davion Mitchell hasn’t gotten out of the gates quickly shooting-wise (35 percent from the field, 4/18 on threes), but the Baylor product and 2021 NCAA champion has lived up to his nickname of “Off Night” on the other end of the floor. Sacramento has been one of the NBA’s worst defensive teams in recent years, but Mitchell already opened eyes by pestering Damian Lillard and Donovan Mitchell in his first two games.



Wednesday win at Phoenix

De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Harrison Barnes, Mo Harkless, Richaun Holmes

Notes: This group is 2-1, with both wins coming on the road against playoff teams from last season (Portland, Phoenix). Terence Davis replaced Harkless as a starter in one game, a home loss vs. still-unbeaten Utah. … Former New Orleans guard Buddy Hield comes off the bench for Sacramento, but is its third-leading scorer at 18.3 points per game. … Friday is Game 2 of a four-game road trip for the Kings, who next visit Dallas on Sunday afternoon.


Wednesday loss vs. Atlanta

Devonte’ Graham, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Herbert Jones, Brandon Ingram, Jonas Valanciunas

Notes: This group is 1-3, splitting a two-game series at Minnesota, along with losses at Chicago and vs. Atlanta. … Josh Hart, who started Game 1 vs. Philadelphia, is listed as questionable for Friday’s game. Temple is doubtful. … Rookie forward Trey Murphy III leads New Orleans bench scorers at 6.2 points per game, while shooting 43 percent from three-point range.



New Orleans will give itself a chance to win more games if it can maintain its defensive performance and aggressiveness from Wednesday’s three-point loss against a very good Atlanta club. The Hawks shot just 42 percent from the field and 27 percent on three-pointers.


Temple’s potential injury DNP Friday would force a change to Willie Green’s rotation, but Temple helped spearhead an excellent bench outing Wednesday vs. Atlanta. New Orleans reserves tallied a season-high 28 points and were more impactful than one of the NBA’s deeper second units.


At center, Valanciunas and Holmes possess very different styles of play, but are similarly vital to their teams. Valanciunas is a low-post scorer and rugged rebounder, averaging 17 points and 15 rebounds, while Holmes is an energetic big and opportunistic scorer. Holmes is also adept at lofting in his unique floater.

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