The New Orleans Pelicans have been their own worst enemy of late.
“At times you see an effort out there that can’t beat anybody in the league, can lose to anybody in the league. And then at times you see and the ball is moving, they’re getting stops, they’re running out, doing what they’re supposed to do, and sharing it. They can beat just about anybody in the league.” — David Wesley during Wednesday’s edition of the Black and Blue Report.
Couldn’t have worded it better myself. Thank you, David.
From the 21 offensive rebounds collected by the Joel Embiid and Robert Covington-less Philadelphia 76ers through three quarters to the 58 points in the paint scored by Clint Capela and the Houston Rockets to the 32 points off turnovers given up to the Denver Nuggets, the Pelicans have fallen into a bad habit of putting up little to no resistance for prolonged stretches against recent opponents.
Since the last time New Orleans held a team to less than 100 points — the Suns on November 24, they’re allowing opponents to score an average of 117.5 points, easily the league’s worst mark during this span. It’s no wonder the Pelicans have limped to a 4-8 record over these last twelve games despite the fact they’re averaging a healthy 113.4 points themselves.
In their most recent loss to the Washington Wizards, New Orleans couldn’t have started the matchup more sluggishly. After watching a replay of the first quarter, it’s shocking to me the Pelicans weren’t deeper in the hole than a 30-13 deficit after the first nine minutes of action. They failed to exhibit the necessary effort and focus in a myriad of ways: failing to stay close to shooters on the perimeter, bobbling away balls left and right, being flat footed on the glass and — what’s easily become the biggest pet peeve for a lot of fans — getting all five guys back defensively in a timely manner.
Surprisingly though, New Orleans was able to flip a 25-point first half deficit into a 61-61 tie against the Wizards a few minutes out of halftime. However, just as quickly as the Pelicans made up the ground, they gave it all back throughout the rest of the third quarter, trailing by 23 points entering the final frame.
The lack of effort, focus and fortitude has been appalling at times. You’re not going to be at your best every night, but when a lack of energy is this problematic after three days of rest, it’s time to try anything and everything — including shots of adrenaline sold in cans.
Yep, one has to think Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and the rest of the Pelicans should be ready by now to welcome a stiff drink of the popular 5-hour energy shot minutes before the start of every game.
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