With All-Star forward Anthony Davis sidelined for the first time this season, Buddy Hield and the remainder of the supporting cast for the New Orleans Pelicans gave a valiant effort but again fell short and dropped to 2-10.
Hield had his most balanced game of the season and finished with eight points, five rebounds and five assists in the Pelicans’ 89-82 loss to the Orlando Magic Wednesday.
He set a new season high in assists and was rebound shy of his season high on the boards but the Pelicans failed to win back-to-back games for the first time this year.
“I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help my team win, making plays,” Hield said, “I was pleased with our effort tonight. Losing is not in my DNA but as a rookie coming in you have to stay positive and stay patient. We lost close games our record could easily be 7-5. I like this team we just have to keep moving the ball, sharing the ball and things will be great for us.”
Buddy returned to the bench with E’Twaun Moore back in the lineup and checked in with just over three minutes left to play in the first quarter.
He made his first three to trim lead 29-28 at the 8:07 mark in the second.
After trailing by as much as 14 in the second quarter, New Orleans completed its comeback with 9:23 left in the game when Hield Made a baseline jumper to put his team up briefly 70-69. The Magic countered with a 10-3 run to go ahead for good.
“It was difficult without AD but I still feel like we played hard as a group. We lost in the last three minutes, we just didn’t make shots at the end, but we were in the game for most of it,” Hield said, “Not having AD is tough but we just have to keep making plays. I think that we fought hard as a team, we didn’t get the shots that we needed.”
After Terrence Jones ‘ basket pulled New Orleans to 84-82, Nikola Vucevic made back-to-back shots in the waning moments for the win.
A large group of Bahamians were on hand at the Amway Center including Hield’s friends and family, former high school teachers, Oklahoma Sooners’ head coach Lon Kruger and representatives from the Sooners staff.
“Bahamian fans always show me love and Pelicans fans have been good to me. I’m just glad to be here. Shout out to everyone in the Bahamas. I can’t tell you how much love I’ve gotten,” Hield said, “Everywhere I go I see a Bahamian flag somewhere so it’s good to see that. When you look up in the stands you see a Bahamian flag. I just usually put my hand to my chest or point at them to show my respect because I really appreciate the support.”
On the season, Hield is averaging 9.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.