After kicking off the road trip with a drubbing in Denver, the Pelicans will attempt to right the ship Friday in Salt Lake City. The Jazz are coming off a woeful 2-15 March including a loss a week ago in New Orleans. This, despite Anthony Davis only playing 4 minutes due to a tender ankle. The Pelicans won the game, but it's not something we should count on again. As of this writing, AD's availability is up in the air:
The New Orleans Pelicans said this morning that power forward Anthony Davis is being listed as day-to-day with back spasms.
Wins and losses have been meaningless for awhile, yet it's still important the team put their best foot forward. Chemistry, improvement and several jobs for next season are still up for grabs. If Davis isn't able to go, the team is going to need to put forth a collective effort that we haven't seen in over a week. Stiemsma and Ajinca can't continue to make personal fouls their most active statistic. The guards need to do a better job dissuading penetration. And, if healthy, Tyreke Evans needs to don his starter's cape to keep proving to Monty that is where he belongs.
3 things to watch:
- Reaction to a Bad Loss. Monty can talk all he wants about the defense lapsing in a post-game interview, but all we should care about is how does the team bounce back. Have some of our players started tuning out or does Monty still have everyone's undivided attention. Moreover, after such a lousy effort by a team solely concerned about next year, many a coach will fiddle with the starting lineup or rotations. Any chance Monty follows suit?
- Anthony Morrow. In 4 of his last 5 games, he's been scoring at a fantastic clip. If he finishes the year strong, there is a good chance he'll end up with a better offer from another organization. Although his shooting would be sorely missed, the loss of his passion might be harder to overcome.
- 28 and 30. Those have been Jeff Withey's minutes the last several games. In the 6 games prior, a grand total of 45 minutes. At this stage of the season, his playing time needs to be there so stop getting in the way Monty. At least act like you're going to be back next season by giving a young returning player important developmental minutes now.