Recap: Blazers blow out Pelicans, 85-68

Injuries and defense were the story of the day for the Blazers in their second game of the Vegas Summer League. Portland’s defense went into overdrive, bringing high energy against the overwhelmed Pelicans. After an early lead, New Orleans struggled for points without rookie Dyson Daniels, who was eliminated in the first half with an injury. The Blazers beat the Pelicans 31-17 and 23-9 in the second and third quarters.

The game was dwarfed by the Blazers’ earlier announcement that Shaedon Sharpe had sustained a labrum tear in his left shoulder. Sharpe, the 7th pick in the 2022 NBA draft, injured his shoulder against the Detroit Pistons on Thursday and his recovery timeline is unclear.

It was expected that this would be a showcase for Sharpe and eighth pick Daniels. But Dyson was the third single-digit pick to be injured at the Summer League (the other was Detroit’s Jaden Ivey), twisting his ankle on a drive. The Pelicans looked unmistakably lost after his elimination, with some nudges from Portland’s frantic defense.

The players

Pretty much every Blazers player rating could be boiled down to “didn’t shoot too well but worked really hard on defense.”

Jabari Walker looks good. For every second-round pick, there’s hope that they can easily hold their own in the Summer League, and Walker did just that. He sparked the Blazers’ crucial 18-point run in the first half, which turned the score and broke the game. He had 12 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and a block in 18 minutes.

Keon Johnson‘s defense led to several turnovers and his offense was fine. Goodnight to Keon who may have pinched his ankle once. He filled the stat sheet with 12 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block but 3 turnovers.

Greg Brown III‘s performance is reminiscent of last year’s Summer League. Lots of energy, lots of hops and always visible. He finished with 7 points (on 2 shot attempts), 4 rebounds and the usual highlight block.

Didi Louzada was generally invisible. He didn’t score but had 2 assists and 2 rebounds.

Trendon Watford was the team’s enduring gray-haired veteran. Never too high, never too low and knew where he needed to be on the pitch. He led the team with a double-double, 17 points and 11 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Brandon Williams didn’t shoot well but got enough tries to go into double digits. He scored 14 points on a 4-14 shooting.

Kyle Alexander (4-5, 9 points), Craig Randall II (6 points) and Colby Ross (4-5, 8 points) each had solid offensive performances and earned the Blazers extra points off the bench in key moments.

Next game

The Blazers play the New York Knicks on Monday night.

box score