Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans had a pretty great week going 3-1 with the sole blemish coming on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies in a competitive 101-99 loss. Three consecutive blowout wins followed thanks in part to some scheduling help. Both the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks played the previous night against the Houston Rockets and those tired legs were evident in the second half. The string of tired opponents continues tonight as the Rockets, who played the Dallas Mavericks in a Sunday matinee, make their way to the Smoothie King Center.
Tonight is the second time the Pelicans get the Rockets on a SEGABABA (SEcond GAme of a BAck-to-BAck) this season but the first New Orleans will be rested. Jrue Holiday led the Pelicans to victory the day after Christmas with superb defense against James Harden in a 110-108 shootout. If the Pels come out flat again in the first quarter (they allowed 41 against the Rockets) Alvin Gentry and/or Darren Erman may suffer from a bout of spontaneous combustion on the bench.
The 3-1 week meant New Orleans is on the move up in both the standings and power rankings. Still, they remain in the bottom ten of the league and need another couple weeks of impressive performance before I personally begin to believe this is anything other than a hot shooting string.
Last Week: 24 - This Week: 21
Eric Gordon's injury (he's out 4-6 weeks with a broken finger) could bring an end to the Pelicans' little-used, big-five lineup that was so potent offensively. But they've had the league's No. 1 offense as they've won five of their last six games. Anthony Davis has been playing more at the four in this stretch, but the Pels have scored 123 points per 100 possessions in the 102 minutes he's played with Ryan Anderson.
Last Week: 25 - This Week: 21
The Pels have won five out of six and Anthony Davis, picking up his play all over the floor lately, just improved his career record against Team USA frontcourt mate/Detroit darling Andre Drummond to a slick 4-0. The Pels' problem is that, even as they sit just four games out of the No. 8 slot in the West, they've still got four teams to mow through to get back to where they finished last season.
Last Week: 24 - This Week: 23
For what it’s worth, the Pelicans just strung together their best six-game stretch of the season after losing Eric Gordon to a fractured finger. Despite their many warts, a manageable schedule gives them a real chance to make up more ground heading into the All-Star break.
Last Week: 25 - This Week: 20
They've won five of six, and are sixth in defense in January. That would be a really good sign if they hadn't buried themselves alive in a coffin welded shut in the first two months.