The New Orleans Pelicans (10-11), losers of four straight, remain in search of righting the ship.
On Wednesday evening, they’ll face off against the Washington Wizards (8-11) for the second time in less than a week. In their matchup this past Saturday, the Wizards took advantage of a Pelicans team on the road playing without Anthony Davis and probably a little stunned after suffering a tough loss just a day earlier to the New York Knicks.
Four days later New Orleans plays host to John Wall, Bradley Beal and the rest of their crew, but this time with a healthy Davis. As AD mentioned after practice yesterday, the team will be looking for revenge. There’s been a ton of distractive chatter around the Wiz as of late — yes, even more than the Pelicans, but they’ve quietly been playing better basketball as of late. With consistent issues now plaguing NOLA from their roster, to injuries, to troubling performances in repeated areas, Washington may not be the most dysfunctional team in town.
But a healthy performance from New Orleans and that could all change.
Notes of importance
- New day, same problems
New Orleans will need to find answers defensively and in the turnover department once again as early deficits have been their Achilles heel all season. A lack of ball security has attributed to them falling behind early in losses and that flaw translates to many of the uncompromising positions they find themselves in on the opposite side of the ball.
This plays a part in their defensive struggles, but it’s not the lone factor to blame. Uneven energy efforts, broken assignments, and the waste of good possessions with bad box-outs have their standing as well.
With the offensive firepower Washington can throw out, they’re the wrong team to fall behind. If New Orleans can take care of the basketball, they should be able to build more quality defensive possessions and play the desired tempo by Alvin Gentry.
- “Get me off the ball.”
You can call it a joke, or you can call it unexpected honesty. Either way, Jrue Holiday has a point. The loss of Elfrid Payton has put a strain on a Pelicans team that desperately needs an extra playmaker and facilitator.
While Holiday is continuing his rockstar play in other areas, his 4.4 turnovers per game in November are a clear sign of an excellent player simply wearing too many hats — or headbands in his case. Holiday is great, but regardless if a trade or a free agent signing is soon made, it’s refreshing to hear him say what others have been worrying about for weeks. Regardless of his intentions.
- Spark searching
The Pelicans coaching staff was so desperate to find energy against the Boston Celtics that both Tim Frazier and Solomon Hill returned to the rotation on Monday. On the contrary, veteran Ian Clark logged a season low of playing time, only on the floor for 59 seconds according to Basketball Reference.
Alvin Gentry has never been shy about mixing things up when the train falls off the track. Was this a sign for the future? Or just a matchup-based adjustment?
We’ll soon find out!
Also, stay tuned for an article later this morning with Fim Oshin of SB Nation’s Bullets Forever for a greater in-depth look at the Wizards.
What: New Orleans Pelicans vs Washington Wizards
Where: Smoothie King Center
When: Wednesday, November 29, 2018, 7:00 p.m. Central
How: FSNO, 99.5 FM WRNO