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The Bird Calls Podcast Ep. 95: New Orleans Pelicans survive & thrive by popping the clutch

The Pels wrapped up “Hell Week” — playing five games in six nights — with an impressive 4-1 record.  Despite trailing in each contest, New Orleans found an extra gear by outscoring opponents in string of fourth quarters, 121-78.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

If you aren’t proud of this team, then your heart isn’t beating.

The Pelicans continue to defy odds and make naysayers walk back on their preseason prejudices. David Grubb of Crescent City Sports joins the squadron — filling in for commander, Oleh Kosel — our credentialed media member and IMDB page having host, Preston Ellis, walks us through a tiring yet inspiring stretch of Pelicans basketball that included a sweep of a B2B2B — a deed that hasn’t happened since 1979.

We discuss the growing confidence we have in this team with the game on the line in the final minutes — paying homage to articles written by Oleh and David.

We break down what went right in the Lakers game. How being hot from two-point range trumped the Lakers — aside from Lonzo Ball — snipping from three.

Grubb discusses the importance of continuity and the teams’ comfort in their specific roles. He points to how impressive it is to have 29 wins in clutch situations, but also explains how it is a little troubling that they are in so many tight games. Hopefully, the Pels find a way to put the lesser teams away earlier.

Is Jrue Holiday the Pelicans’ Draymond Green pre-Durant? Or is he just the Silver Surfer? I explain!

We discuss if it is better to have a clear bench bucket-getter a la Lou Williams, or are the Pelicans better off with bench buckets by committee. Many potential hot hands could be better than one.

Is Nikola Mirotic’s green light too green? How do the Pelicans get him out of his scoring slump? Has he been marginalized as a purely (contested) three point shooter like Kevin Love was early on in his Cleveland stint? Could changing his offensive role and shot selection get him back on track?

What’s up with Jrue Holiday at the stripe down the stretch? His free throw struggles continue to be a thorn in his side despite his truly inspired all-around play. Should Gentry sub Holiday out in clear hacking situations?

David tackles what the Pelicans should do with the playoff rotation. Who loses minutes? While we are currently playing 11 players per game does this drop to 9 in the post season? If so, who are the must-play bench players?

We briefly look to the future at SF — is there really a huge hole there? What moves could be made to improve there? Would we consider playing Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Nikola Mirotic together for stretches? Also, David explains how Solomon Hill and Darius Miller can improve their games a notch making the current options more dynamic.

After getting another close look at Julius Randle and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope would we consider either of them in free agency?

Is the secret to playing the Rockets playing the game inside of a hard drive or with your arms behind your back? We break down our game plans against Houston, and we then pick our desired playoff matchups.

Then David and I leave Preston who then welcomes in Ben DuBose to get the Houston perspective of this weekend’s game.

Check it out. If you like us, rate our pod and subscribe on Itunes today! The pod is also available everywhere podcasts are found. Also, follow us all on Twitter and send us questions you want answered on the pod — The Bird Writes (@thebirdwrites), Oleh Kosel (@OlehKosel), Preston Ellis (@PrestonEllis), Kevin Barrios (@kevinbforbounce), David Grubb (@DMGrubb) and Ben DuBose (@BenDuBose).