NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Can't get a good read on this Pelicans team? You're not alone.
They lost by 29 points to the Brooklyn Nets, Friday, and followed that with a 124-122 victory over the defending champion Cavaliers, Monday night, without Anthony Davis. It's bittersweet to say the least. The win shows their potential, but now it's a matter of performing that well more regularly.
"It's just about being consistent," says point guard Jrue Holiday. "Coach tells us all the time that if we're consistent, we can do that against anybody."
Head Coach Alvin Gentry also reiterates that the result just counts as one game, even if it is a win over the reigning world champs.
"We have to do it the next game and the next game and the next game," says Gentry.
Those next three games are against the Thunder, Spurs and Wizards. They're all playoff teams and should provide a more accurate gauge of improvement for the Pelicans. And that being said, if the Pels want to prove that they have playoff potential of their own, there are a few things they should have learned from their win over Cleveland.
First, keep Jrue Holiday in attack mode. Gentry says that at times, Holiday has been more focused on getting teammates involved rather than getting his own shots up. Without AD, he was forced to score more, but he also finished with 10 assists. Furthermore, the Pelicans are 7-1 when Holiday scores at least 20 points. They're 9-4 when he scores at least 15. The bottom line is he has to be a regular part of the offense.
Secondly, more Motiejunas could be a really good thing. His 24 minutes against the Cavs was a season-high, and he gave the Pelicans everything they needed from a big off the bench. He stretched the floor, connecting on two three-pointers, and didn't slow down the offense, even pushing the pace himself at times.
No, they're not going to get 36 points every night from Terrence Jones, but they don't have to. Jones proved he can be very efficient. His 36 came on just 18 shots. He remains a big reason that the Pelicans rank 4th in the league in bench scoring with just over 40 points per game.
If the Pelicans can put it together and finish this home stand strong, the confidence gained could very well lead them into the eighth playoff spot.