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Pelicans look to regroup against Celtics

New Orleans needs to get back in the win column

New Orleans Pelicans v Boston Celtics Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

There is no time for the New Orleans Pelicans to lick their wounds with the Boston Celtics walking into the Smoothie King Center Saturday evening.

New Orleans has now lost four of six and seven of its last 12 after Friday’s 116-105 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

“I am proud once again of our guys and the effort,” Willie Green said in last night’s postgame. “They competed at a high level and worked their tails off but we just came up short. Defensively we forced 21 turnovers with 26 points off of those turnovers. We were active and we were getting into the paint. They are a tough team and give them credit. We have to regroup and get after it tomorrow.”

Though their efforts haven’t resulted in victories often enough, it’s hard not to be impressed with just how competitive the Pels have been; despite how much talent is currently unavailable and the level of talent that currently is.

After their own slow start, the Nuggets are winners of eight of their last 11, and yet the Pelicans, without Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas, were within six points of Denver with under two minutes to play.

The stat sheet doesn’t matter. Who scored or did what is irrelevant at this point. For the rest of the 2021-22 season, the story of the New Orleans Pelicans is going to be about the collective, not the individual.

The Pelicans likely won’t have any All-Stars, despite the credentials of the aforementioned Ingram and Valanciunas.

Herb Jones should make the All-Rookie team, but a rookie hasn’t made an All-Defensive team since Tim Duncan. The Pels are not the Spurs.

I’m Boston they’re facing a team with a pair of All-Stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

However, the Celtics have been struggling to find their own rhythm this season. At 25-25, Boston is closer to missing the playoffs in the East than it is to catching seventh place Charlotte in the standings.

B.I. and Jonas may or may not be back.

The Pelicans might go 2-45 from three.

But, somehow, someway, the Pelicans will likely be in position to win once again.

Moral victories still don’t count. The Pels need actual victories.

But, there has been progress. You can see it. You can feel it.

Let’s just hope that after Saturday’s game, you can verify it with a win.

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (18-30) vs Boston Celtics (25-25)

When: January 29, 2022, 6:00 p.m.

Where to watch: Bally Sports New Orleans, NBA League Pass

Where to listen: ESPN 100.3 FM

For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @DMGrubb.