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New Orleans Pelicans need to dig deep against Miami Heat

Greater effort, focus and attention to detail are required

Miami Heat v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

There’e not much else to say about the current eight losses in 11 games spiral.

During a very difficult portion of the schedule, the New Orleans Pelicans have been without Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson. The duo accounts for 47 points and can be leaned upon in important minutes. Unfortunately, there’s no definitive timetable for return for either player.

Overall, the defense has slipped from sixth to 20th (110.0 DRTG —> 116.7 DRTG), and the offense, from sixth to 27th (115.4 —> 110.7), in this span. A number of other statistical markers rank near the bottom of the league since Dec. 30 too.

Combining the fact that good opponents are more likely to turn stats sour and New Orleans role players have been asked to fill greater shoes, the stretch of poor team performance should not elicit surprise.

The margin for error will remain small until the big guns return. That means the Pelicans must find a way to do a better job in every possible area, like taking care of the basketball, holding opponents to one shot per possession and running the offense. Box-out bodies, set timely but hard screens and stop sending the opposition too often to the free throw line.

You get the message.

The Pelicans did a good job of combating adversity earlier in the season. They’ll have to do so again in order to slow a fall in the standings, starting against the Miami Heat in today’s afternoon matchup.

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (26-20) at Miami Heat (25-22)

When: January 22, 2023, 2:30 p.m. CT

Where to watch: Bally Sports New Orleans, League Pass

Where to listen: WRNO 99.5

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 @OlehKosel.