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Apathetic Pelicans fail to put forth necessary effort, fall to Phoenix Suns 104-88

Pelicans firing up the tank with or without a trade

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Somehow the beginning of this game was rather promising. Eric Gordon had six wide open 3-point attempts in the first six minutes of the game. Unfortunately just one of those shots found the bottom of the net and ice cold Gordon was in the house. Slowly the Suns built a double-digit lead, one they would not relinquish.

Throughout the next three quarters the Pelicans would chip away with a couple decent possessions, but rather would cut the deficit to single digits. A microcosm of this entire season, two or three good plays would be followed by horrendous, and oftentimes hilarious breakdowns. Omer Asik attempted to pass the ball to Tyreke Evans at half court but instead found Alvin Gentry on the other end of the floor. Evans would make a layup and then recklessly flail into four defenders trying to do everything himself. Anthony Davis missed rotations too numerous to count.

Alvin Gentry was furious in the interview between the first and second quarter. The issue was not making open shots or scheme. He wanted effort and the Pelicans to play smart basketball. While the former comes and goes with this team, the latter is missing in action. Each and every player put their own fingerprint on this loss and it was a team effort. Gordon's cold shooting. Anthony Davis looking dejected and tossing passes to Jeff Hornacek instead of Ish Smith. Tyreke Evans with three turnovers and just one assist. Jrue Holiday missing consecutive free throws in the first quarter. Ryan Anderson was missing in action, scoring just 3 points. Ryno also led the team in +/-, which is just strange.

This team is terrible right now. They show flashes of potential surrounded by mountains of evidence they do not care enough, are not willing to try hard enough, and lack the fundamental understanding to run Gentry's offense. It is one thing to play hard and lose because the shots aren't falling or the other team is on fire. That didn't happen tonight. Phoenix committed 19 turnovers themselves tonight, many of the unforced variety. Stephen Howard, Joel Meyers, and David Wesley all spoke about trying hard in the post game. Effort. Try. This team fails to provide that basic requirement of competition.

New Orleans had some interesting ideas defensively tonight, choosing to cross match Anthony Davis onto P.J. Tucker against the starters. That put Tyreke Evans or another bigger wing on Jon Leuer. Communicating these basic changes was an abject disaster. At times in the first quarter no one defended the ball coming up the floor. Later in the second half no one picked up Leuer, resulting in a wide open dunk. 22 second of quality defense could be ruined by Gordon or Evans falling asleep on the weak side, permitted a handful of easy layups off late backdoor cuts.

Alvin Gentry afterward said the issue was, "Effort, trying hard, giving a damn." He was visibly pissed off. He hates this locker room, and with good reason.

I hate watching this team. Gentry sounds like he hates coaching this team. The players don't look like they want to play together. Any morsel of adversity results in complete collapse.

It's time to tank.