Just when you thought the Pelicans had reached rock bottom on the season, Tuesday night provided a new precedent.
After falling behind 36-9 out of the gates and being down by as much as 31 points, New Orleans finished with their lowest point total and their most lopsided defeat of the season in a 118-88 loss to the Orlando Magic.
Blame Rich Paul, blame the organization, the NBA, or Anthony Davis, the time for a change has come. After a previous season-worst shooting performance against the Grizzlies on Saturday, the Pelicans looked even more lost and disinterested against the Magic. All of this in front of a home crowd, who was visibly upset.
Pelicans are down 34-9 with 2:34 to go in 1st quarter and hearing the random 'fire Gentry' chants, among other things.— Oleh Kosel (@OlehKosel) February 13, 2019
"This is your fault, Gentry!"
Guys, you realize the Anthony Davis saga was bound to kill tons of life?
(Remember how the team fared when AD was out, right?)
Not even the returns of Jahlil Okafor and E’Twaun Moore to the starting lineup could temper the continuing stench surrounding the Anthony Davis trade request. Right from the tip, the Pelicans looked mentally defeated, and done “faking the funk”.
You can tell me the Pelicans are all professionals and I’ll tell you that they’re all people. Guys are thinking about next year because this year is over.— David M. Grubb (@DMGrubb) February 13, 2019
There were some individual performances worth mentioning. Moore’s return went well as he led the team in scoring with 19 points on 8-13 shooting. Jrue Holiday posted a line of 16 points, six assists and two steals while Tim Frazier (10 points, seven assists) and Julius Randle (15 points, four rebounds, four assists) also ended their nights in double figures.
But in all honesty, outside of the healthy returns, no achievements are worth remembering. New Orleans shot 38 percent from the field and committed 14 turnovers while Orlando took the Pelicans to the wood shed.
The Magic had four starters total at least 20 points, with Nikola Vucevic posting the most illustrious line of the night: 25 points, 17 rebounds, three assists and two steals — all in just 27 minutes of action!
If you’ve read this far, you’ve painfully aware of the fact that there’s one noticeable Pelican yet to be mentioned: Anthony Davis.
For a guy who openly campaigned returning back to the floor with the teammates he wants to leave after the trade deadline, Davis didn’t look engaged at any point on either side of the court. He had arguably the worst night of his NBA career, finishing with a paltry three points on 1-of-9 shooting in 24 lethargic minutes.
It once again begets the question: Should Davis ever play again in a New Orleans uniform?
It’s no secret at this point that the Pelicans have the most ominous of clouds hanging over the franchise, whether they’re being forced to play the soon-to-leave star or not. One thing is clear though, this charade isn’t doing anyone any favors.
This is a total farce. Embarrassing to the franchise.— Scott Kushner (@ScottDKushner) February 13, 2019
There is no reason Anthony Davis should be playing in these games.
Normally, these recaps are game driven and made to show observations that were noticed throughout the game, but unfortunately after a performance like the disaster we witnessed, the normal talking points are measured.
- Jahlil Okafor’s return was a safe one as he finished with eight points and seven rebounds, but the Pels often faced spacing difficulties when he and Davis shared the floor.
- Feel good story Kenrich Williams saw 32 minutes, but he had a rough night from the field totaling two points shooting one for seven from the field.
- Jrue Holiday’s ability to rise over the turmoil might be the best story. But you have to wonder, if he’s asked to endure more games of this variety, will it play a factor on his thoughts of embracing basketball in the post-AD era?
So, here we stand, wondering when the rug will mercifully be pulled out from underneath. How many more games will Anthony Davis play in a Pelicans uniform? Is there one fan who still finds this charade enjoyable? Is there a fast forward button lying around somewhere?
Maybe Alvin Gentry hinted at the solution.
The only way the Pelicans will be able to move on -- get back to their new normal as Alvin Gentry put it -- is if they sit Anthony Davis for the rest of the season.— The Bird Writes (@thebirdwrites) February 13, 2019
Will the NBA league office let them or does New Orleans start paying fines?
Either way, everyone deserves better, from the fans in New Orleans to those who watch around the world. The coaches, the players, the media, everybody deserves the circus that should have never existed just go away.
If not, expect more performances like Tuesday night in the very near future.