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Pelicans continue to climb slowly in NBA Power Rankings

A .500 week was a disappointment by Sunday night. Seems like progress.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at New Orleans Pelicans Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans apparently had themselves a tryptophan-induced hangover following Thanksgiving. Said only in jest, certainly a different team appeared to take the floor following the holiday. Last week the Pelicans went 2-2, chasing a four-game winning streak with two losses.

Losing in Portland, despite the Blazers’ struggles this season, is still a reasonable result. In fact, I was very impressed with how New Orleans battled back in the fourth quarter despite playing in one of the toughest environments in the league. A comeback victory there had some potential to be the cornerstone for a real turnaround for this franchise early in the season. Even still, I held out hope that the moral victory alone along with a soft Dallas Mavericks team on the horizon could keep the Pelicans on the right track.

About that. Everyone not named Anthony Davis or Jrue Holiday decided to put in a cold night shooting. Just enough, combined with a massive run by the Mavs in the fourth quarter, to secure arguably the most disappointing loss of the season. Sure, the blow out to the Lakers featured a larger margin (and at home) but Anthony Davis suffered an injury while Jrue Holiday was not yet in uniform whatsoever. Dallas is one of the worst teams in the league and played without multiple rotation players (Dirk Nowitzki and J.J. Barea) Sunday night.

This team is not good enough to overcome an ice cold shooting night and their opponent getting hot in crunch time. Both were necessary to go down to defeat in Dallas.

.500 during the week was still good enough to make some progress in most NBA Power Rankings. Marc Stein of ESPN, who gave the Pelicans their biggest bump last week, was the only writer to move New Orleans down this week.

NBA.com

Last Week: 25 - This Week: 23

After a four-game winning streak that coincided with the return of Jrue Holiday, the Pelicans have a two-game losing streak that coincides with the loss of Dante Cunningham, who suffered a fractured fibula on Wednesday. Anthony Davis totaled 67 points and 26 rebounds and Holiday made five of his eight threes over the weekend, but after allowing just 96 points per 100 possessions over the winning streak, the Pels allowed 109 in the two losses in Portland and Dallas. Nine of their next 11 games are against teams that are currently at or above .500.

ESPN

Last Week: 21 - This Week: 23

How can we not root for Anthony Davis? He's trying to assemble the first 30 PPG/10 RPG/3 BPG season since Bob McAdoo did it for the Committee's beloved Buffalo Braves in 1973-74. The Brow, at present, is on course to become the first player to lead the league in both scoring and blocked shots since swats became a stat in 1973-74. But the Pels, after a 6-2 uptick, took a step back over the weekend, falling to 3-7 against sub-.500 teams with road losses to the struggling Blazers and Mavs.

Sports Illustrated

Last Week: 26 - This Week: 22

New Orleans is 4–2 with Jrue Holiday back from leave, including wins over Portland, Charlotte and Atlanta. Maybe we cried wolf a little early, or maybe Anthony Davis is just this ridiculous.

CBS Sports

Last Week: 25 - This Week: 25

The Pelicans are much better with Jrue Holiday back, but the loss to the Mavericks Sunday set back their momentum. The schedule turns hard now; they have to play their best basketball, immediately, or the hole may get too big to dig out of, even with five months of play left.