LAS VEGAS — Seth Curry and the New Orleans Pelicans continued rolling with a 97-81 victory against the Washington Wizards on Thursday evening.
Curry, the leading scorer in the Las Vegas Summer League, finished with a game-high 26 points on 12-for-21 shooting as the Pelicans moved to 4-0 since arriving in Vegas. The victory means that the Pelicans will go on to face the Golden State Warriors on Saturday at 9 p.m.
“When you get a group of guys who have never played together and are able to play well and execute, it’s a little surprising,” Pelicans assistant coach Robert Pack said. “The guys have really worked hard at it, they’ve accepted the challenge every night, and I think it’s a testament to how hard they’ve worked and are willing to play for each other.”
After jumping out to a 19-point first half lead, the Pelicans allowed Washington to get back into the game. The Wizards reeled off a 13-3 run to and trim the Pelicans’ advantage to eight at the break. New Orleans shot 53 percent from the floor in the first half, led by Curry and Khem Birch combining for a 26-point half on 10-for-14 shooting.
“Everybody is going out there and doing their job,” Curry said. “From (positions) 1-5 out there on the court, everybody is going out there playing hard. Nobody is timid. They have the green light to shoot it and make plays. It’s a fun system, and it’s bringing out the best in everyone.”
Birch had a strong outing for the Pelicans, finishing with 12 points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots. He shot 4-for-5 from the floor and 4-for-5 from the free-throw line.
“Khem Birch has been great,” Pack said. “He’s the anchor out there. He’s able to call out defensive coverages, he’s into the ball, he’s a big rim protector. Guys think they have shots and he’s out there wiping them out. It helps the guards to be aggressive when they have the big guy back there willing to protect the rim like he’s been doing.”
Birch credited the 20 pounds of muscle he’s added to his frame as the biggest reason for his improvement from a year ago.
“The fact that can run the floor with the weight I have right now, tires out a lot of bigs,” Birch said.
The Pelicans also officially announced the signing of free agent guard Alonzo Gee on Thursday afternoon. Gee, a 6-foot-6, 220 pound six-year veteran, appeared in games for the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers last season averaging 4.5 points and 1.7 rebounds.