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New Orleans Pelicans look disheveled in another defensive disaster, losing 128-112 to Portland Trail Blazers

Forget watching any highlights. Alvin Gentry’s rant in postgame told you everything you needed to know about this stinker.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

About 48 hours ago, the Golden State Warriors had just put the finishing touches on a 147-140 victory over the Pelicans. The optimists among the fanbase were thinking: “If only New Orleans had faced another team” or “They’ve found something and it will carry over to the next game.”

{Insert your favorite LMAO gif}

Although the final 128-112 score fails to adequately describe the darkness of the performance, the New Orleans Pelicans never had a chance to escape Portland with a win. Following a 32-point first quarter, the Trail Blazers tossed in a 42-point frame in the second, and they were led by none other than...not Damian Lillard...not CJ McCollum... but Jake Layman! The Portland reserve scored all 20 of his points in that quarter, and Alvin Gentry singled out his play as an example of the frustration of watching the Pelicans defensive effort on the night.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

“It’s in keeping your man in front of you,” said a rather hoarse and understandably agitated Gentry to postgame media. “And if you can’t do it, we’ve got to find somebody who can. But it doesn’t have anything to do with anything but guarding your position. And we just can’t keep having guys drive to the basket and lay it in. We can’t have a guy come into the game and get 20 points and laugh at us while he’s doing it. At some stage you’ve got to take a little pride in what you’re doing. That’s what you’ve got to do. And it’s frustrating as hell. It is. Because I know that we’re capable of doing it. I don’t know why we’re not doing it. But until we decide that that’s going to be the most important thing and we’re going to have a good season, we’re going to struggle. We’re going to struggle just like this.”

The lack of effort by the Pelicans was so jaw-dropping in that atrocious second quarter. Defensive rotations were an afterthought, as was boxing out Trail Blazers, as was doing anything positive on the end of the floor a team is supposed to be stopping opponents.

Interested in seeing a team, who desperately needs to climb back into the playoff picture, provide defensive resistance when trailing in a game on the road? Then don’t presently look at these Pelicans because giving up easy lay-ups and open three-pointers are the common sight.

Portland had 31 field goal attempts in 12 minutes.

Honestly, pretty much everyone was bad. Unless you’re a dog, in which case some shit I guess does smell better than other shit, there’s little reason to talk about who was less worse from amid a whole group of disinterested players. From Anthony Davis to Darius Miller to Julius Randle to Tim Frazier, there was plenty of fault to go around. And of course, the coaching staff is not exempt from criticism.

Instead of searching deeply for positives when the Pelicans closed the deficit to eight points early in the fourth quarter and frankly of further wasting my time that’s better served sleeping, however, we’ll just finish this ugly recap with the rest of Alvin’s quotations on the night — because he didn’t hold back.

“We’ve got to do better defensively,” said Gentry. “Every night it’s 130, 140, 147, and we’re not going to win games until we’re able to guard somebody. We’ve got to be able to defend and we’re not doing it. And we’re putting ourselves in a tough situation. Offensively, we can’t score that many points every night to try and win a game. Tonight, we need 130 to win the game. We can’t do that. We have to guard. We have to guard and we have to do it consistently. We started the third quarter scoring on our first five possessions and we didn’t gain any ground whatsoever. None, whatsoever. And so it’s telling me that we’re not doing what we need to. It’s okay to be really good offensively, but you’ve got to be able to guard some. You look at where we are: we give up 147 points, we can’t win; we give up 128, we can’t win. And you go on and on and on. Until we do that, until we make a commitment to guard the basketball, protect the rim and rebound the basketball, it’s going to be hard for us to win. That’s as plain as it can be.”

Gentry’s best part came at the end of his session with the media when a reporter continued to probe on why the New Orleans defense is in such a sad state of affairs.

“It’s not communication. It’s fuck — Gentry abruptly stopped and tried to catch himself — it’s okay I’m going to get fined. It’s effort. It’s effort. You’ve got to put effort into what you’re doing. And you’ve got to take pride in what you’re doing. That’s what it takes to be a good defensive player. And that’s what it takes to be a good defensive team. You’ve got to play for each other.”

We’re 46 games in and there’s major issues with the most basic fundamentals of team basketball. If this Pelicans squad can’t play for each other when we’re more than half way through the season, then what the hell are we all doing here?

P.S. Anthony Davis, who we witnessed shaking his hand numerous times on the night, could potentially miss some time moving forward.

Let’s hope the New Orleans Saints bring us infinitely more joy in two days’ time to help us forget what we did late Friday night.