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Pelicans move up in Power Rankings but is it too little too late?

A late season surge might be on the way. Can the Pelicans actually pass the Rockets, Jazz, and Trail Blazers?

Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Davis dropped 59 on the Detroit Pistons to give the New Orleans Pelicans their second win in a row. Against all reasonable hope the deficit between New Orleans and the triumvirate battling for the seventh and eighth seeds (Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, and Utah Jazz) is between five and six and a half games. Playoff odds are still miniscule but a dash of hope can't hurt.

Alas, even a transcendent performance like AD's draws withering critiques of the roster around him. Leading the charge, none other than Adrian Wojnarowski, the preeminent reporter covering the league.

What Davis dropped on the Detroit Pistons on Sunday in Auburn Hills – 59 points and 20 rebounds – left the NBA stunned and speechless. He reminded everyone, including himself: Davis is a transcendent and generational talent stranded on a flawed, broken roster...

Only, these nights are fleeting. He needs help. He's rightfully looked long and hard at himself, but the Pelicans need to surround Anthony Davis with the proper talent, the proper people. Franchise stars can't do it alone – and they sure can't do it with New Orleans' roster.

Ouch. Wojnarowski was hardly alone in this train of thought. Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post wrote, "It was an example of the near limitless potential Davis has, and a reminder of just how mismanaged things have been in New Orleans during the first few years of his career."

Two victories over the Philadelphia 76ers and Pistons push the upward in four of the now five polls (adding the Washington Post from here on out) we track. Matt Moore remains unimpressed at CBS Sports.

NBA.com

Last Week: 21 - This Week: 20

Anthony Davis has had a disappointing season in regard to both individual development and team success. But he had the performance of the year in Detroit on Sunday, the first 50-20 game since 2001. The Pelicans have won four of their last five, with Jrue Holiday averaging 23 points and nine assists. The 28 minutes he and Davis played together on Sunday was the most they've shared the floor since Christmas.

ESPN

Last Week: 21 - This Week: 19

Common sense says that there's not enough time left in the regular season for the Pels, even after Sunday night's Anthony Davis Show, to erase a 5 1/2-game deficit and climb back into the West's top eight. But New Orleans has quietly won four of five while Jrue Holiday, after being hamstrung by a minutes restriction all season, is averaging 21.1 PPG and 7.6 APG off the bench in his last 12 games.

Sports Illustrated

Last Week: 22 - This Week: 20

Just to say it aloud and make sure it’s still real, Anthony Davis had 59 points and 20 rebounds in a game. Of course, the Pelicans are still an extreme playoff longshot who didn’t sell on a guy with plenty of trade value (Ryan Anderson) and do not have a clear, logical plan to build around Davis.

CBS Sports

Last Week: 24 - This Week: 24

Anthony Davis actually put up 59 points and 20 boards. That's a thing that happened. It was a nice reminder of how dominant The Brow can be in a season where that's easy to forget.

Washington Post

Last Week: 25 - This Week: 21

No team was a bigger loser at the trade deadline than New Orleans, which needed to get value back for expiring deals like Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon but didn’t.