The New Orleans Pelicans are bracing for the Golden State Warriors (19-2), who have the league’s best record and have won a franchise-record 15 consecutive games, when the teams face off at 5 p.m. Sunday in the Smoothie King Center.
And the Pelicans know full well how good the Warriors are, having been victim No. 11 in the streak in a 112-85 loss at Oakland, California, on Dec. 4.
“We weren’t that great after the first quarter,” Williams said. “Our transition defense was really bad. We have to play a lot better in every facet of the game.
“Offensively, we were sharing the ball in the first quarter, and we didn’t do it as well after that. I think that led to their getting out in the fast break and hurting us.
“But our guys know it. They felt it after the game that we weren’t ourselves after the first quarter. So we expect to be a lot better (Sunday).”
The Pelicans led by eight points late in the first quarter but were outscored 33-12 the rest of the first half and trailed 53-40 at halftime. The Pelicans were outscored 43-14 in fast-break points.
Davis had 30 points, 15 rebounds, three blocks, three assists and two steals.
Last week, with players like the Cavaliers’ LeBron James and Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose leading the way, many players began wearing shirts that read “I CAN’T BREATHE.”
The players said the shirts were in support of the family of Eric Garner, who was put in a choke hold and rolled onto his stomach as police apprehended him. The New York police officers responsible for his death were not convicted. Garner repeatedly told officers, “I can’t breathe,” to no avail.
Austin Rivers said the gesture shows the players feel a oneness with Garner’s family.
“The family is out there suffering because justice wasn’t served,” Rivers. “There’s a mom, there’s a brother, a sister, a cousin in pain right now because of what didn’t take place in that courtroom.
“Players wearing that shirt just gives people the idea that players have a voice, too. I think it was big for LeBron to do it first with the shirt, and now people are following his lead. That’s one of the things a guy like that brings to the table.”
On Monday, teams can begin trading free agents who signed contracts before Sept. 16.
Contending teams often look for veteran help, with rebuilding teams seeking draft picks and some teams looking to acquire expiring contracts with an eye on free agency in the summer.
It will be interesting to see if veteran small forward John Salmons attracts any suitors. Salmons has not played in the past four games and has scored just 32 points for the Pels this season. He has a guaranteed contract, so waiving him doesn’t appear an option.
Likewise, Jimmer Fredette has played sparingly, and Gal Mekel’s arrival likely will make it difficult for him to see playing time.