There was a glimmer, you could feel it. The New Orleans Pelicans had trimmed their deficit to just five and a half games with the young Minnesota Timberwolves on their way to town. A win Saturday, where the Pelicans have been roughly competent at home in the Smoothie King Center, and even the most pessimistic fans would agree there's at least a chance.
No dice. Anthony Davis injured his big toe during warm-ups. Despite his absence Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, and Ryan Anderson managed to build a double figure lead as the fourth quarter began. And then the collapse, one fans have seen too many times in the past three years.
Again, prevent offense and trying to shorten the game by stretching out offensive possessions bit the Pelicans. Minnesota scored 18 points in the final frame alone and despite their youth did not commit a single turnover. The Timberwolves posted an obscene 149.5 offensive rating in the fourth quarter.
Those slim playoff hopes are evaporating.
Pelican playoff odds this morning— The Bird Writes (@thebirdwrites) February 29, 2016
Basketball Reference: 0.8%
Another week, another slight wobble in the power rankings.
Last Week: 20 - This Week: 20
The Pelicans have won five of the last seven games that Anthony Davis has played, picking up their best win in months against the Thunder on Thursday. But another injury to Davis stopped whatever momentum they had on Saturday. Eric Gordon scored 31 points in his return from a five-week absence, but the Pelicans allowed the Wolves to score 67 in the second half. Only the Suns have been worse defensively after halftime.
Last Week: 19 - This Week: 20
Don't make us talk about that toe injury -- during (ugh) warm-ups -- that cost us a dose of Anthony Davis vs. Karl-Anthony Towns on Saturday night. Let us stay focused on The Brow's week-old eruption for 59 and 20 that gave us seven different 50-point scorers this season ... which means we need only one more to tie the single-season record from 1989-90.
Last Week: 20 - This Week: 21
One thing the hard-luck Pelicans have done well, especially of late? Take care of the basketball. They hold the league’s second-best turnover ratio (13.2 per 100 possessions), which is almost alarming for a team whose performance has been otherwise so consistently inconsistent—they’ve been at least 10 games below the .500 mark since opening 1–11.
Last Week: 24 - This Week: 24
It's time to start shopping for a whole new approach to surround Anthony Davis with a better team. Being 5.5 games back with 24 to go sounds doable, but they need the entire universe to tilt in their direction to make the playoffs.
Last Week: 21 - This Week: 22
The only thing that could make things worse in New Orleans – Anthony Davis getting injured – happened this weekend.