Nine days ago, the Pelicans were 26-22 and had won 6 of their previous 7 games. They were primed to enter the All-Star break in good playoff position. They went on to split a home and home series with the Oklahoma City Thunder but then took a swan dive down the standings with losses in the past three games. Currently, this is how the Western Conference race appears:
Back in 10th position. Not ideal at all. However, I don't think our playoff hopes have been extinguished.
Last night, Anthony Davis announced he will forgo participating in the All-Star Game and Saturday's Shooting Stars event. Considering it wasn't conclusive he'd miss the game against the Pacers until late in the day and that Monty claimed in pre-game he could be back to 100% before Sunday, the timing of his announcement was curious.
In my honest opinion, Davis and the rest of the team are preparing themselves to be 100% focused for their next regular season game, the Magic in Orlando coming up on February 20th. There is no other legitimate reason for AD to make last night's statement otherwise. It can't be because of some setback with his shoulder as Fox Sports New Orleans showed footage of him hoisting jumpers prior to tip-off. He was relatively close to playing against Indiana.
Add the fact rumors have been circling since the Pelicans loss to the Chicago Bulls that Jrue Holiday will return in their first game after the All-Star game, a healthy squad is looking more than likely.
In pregame @JoelMeyersNBA noted that Jrue was doing some work on court today and looked good. Pelicans don't play again until next Friday.— The Bird Writes (@thebirdwrites) February 12, 2015
Remember, our broadcast team let us know Eric Gordon wasn't far from playing in a game as they noticed him ramp up his activity right before his return.
Lastly, Ryan Anderson's sore elbow doesn't seem too disconcerting.
Ryan Anderson (sore elbow) is out tonight, Monty Williams says. "He tried to shoot this morning and it didn't feel right extending his arm.@— Aaron Falk (@tribjazz) February 9, 2015
There has been no news of any MRI's, and much like Davis, a body part just didn't feel right. It sounds like an extended rest was in the plans since he injured it against the Bulls. Missing only 2 games for 2 weeks of rest was probably agreed to be worth it.
The Pelicans are a mere 1 1/2 games out of the 8th playoff spot. The rest of their February schedule consists of only Eastern Conference foes: ORL, MIA, TOR, BKN and MIA again. Yeah, we've struggled to the tune of an 8-12 record against the East, but how many of those games had at least one important rotation player sidelined?
Our recent stretch of 6 wins in 8 games including DAL, LAC, ATL and OKC suggests New Orleans CAN go on another run. If they can win 4 or all 5 of their remaining games this month, they'll put themselves in decent position where they'll won't have to post some obscene W/L record for the rest of the season. To me, it sounds like they're going to try like hell to do just that.