The Pelicans have done their part.

Now it's time for the fans to do theirs.

A team in the thick of the playoff hunt deserves better.

I sat in Section 322, Row 16, Seat 22 of the Smoothie King Center for the first half of Monday night's game against the Phoenix Suns.

Really, I could have chosen any other seat on the row.

Heck, I could have had my pick of any seat in the entire section.

Only 18 of the 270 seats in the section were occupied.

Tickets up here in the cheap seats were as low as $3 (yes, three dollars) on SeatGeek late Monday afternoon.


That's pretty good bang for your buck on a night when Anthony Davis put on another show, scoring a season-high 53 points and snatching down 18 rebounds in a 125-116 victory.  

That's a cheaper price than anything you could have bought from the concession stands.

It's the lowest secondary-market ticket price you'll find in the NBA.

Plenty of low-priced tickets for an NBA game is good news if you're looking to go on a cheap date.

But it's bad news if you're a red-hot team that moved to fifth place in the Western Conference standings and is looking to climb even higher.

Ok, I know what some of you are thinking.

It's too soon.

You need to see more from this team before you jump on the bandwagon.

The Pelicans' inconsistency over the past few years has let you down more times than you can count. 

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON
Advocate columnist Rod Walker works on his computer in an empty section during the first half of an NBA basketball game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Phoenix Suns in the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, La. Monday, Feb. 26, 2018.

But the team feeds off the crowd's energy, and the team's efforts of late should have been enough to hide some of the empty blue seats scattered throughout the lower level and up in the rafters. 

You can typically predict what the crowd will be like at a Pelicans game by asking yourself two questions.

1. What day of the week is it?

2. Who are they playing?


But for a team that came into Monday on a five-game winning streak, who they were playing and which night they were playing should no longer matter.

Yes, playing Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors or LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on a Saturday will obviously draw more than the last place Suns on a Monday.

And to be fair, Monday's crowd would be considered decent one, but it still should be more. The Pelicans should be able to draw a crowd on their own merit now, regardless of the opponent.

Heck, AD alone is worth the proce of admission. He has worked his way into the Most Valuable Player conversation with his play as of late.

Jrue Holiday has been prolific as AD's sidekick, showing signs of the player he was was an All-Star with the Philadelphia 76ers.

But most important, the team is winning.

New Orleans is just one of four teams in the Western Conference with a winning record both at home and on the road. (Golden State, Houston and Portland are the other three).

The six-game winning streak is the franchise's longest in the Alvin Gentry era and the first since 2011. 

The Pelicans have two winning streaks of five or more games, the most they had strung together since they also won five straight in 2015 under Monty Williams.

Jeff Rhodes of Metairie, one of the few people sitting in Section 322 on Monday night, remembers that season well.

He was sitting in the same section back then.

"It was packed up here, and it was fun as hell," Rhodes said.

He believes another playoff run will get the Smoothie King Center back rocking like it was that year.

The Pelicans are doing their part to get back to the postseason.

Now it's time for the fans to do theirs. A city known for how well it throws a party should be able to turn the Smoothie King Center to one of the most intimidating arenas in the league, especially now that the team looks the part of a legitimate playoff contender in the rugged West.  

The Pelicans' next four games are on the road against San Antonio on Wednesday, then Dallas, the Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento.

They return home March 9 for three games.

I won't list who they are playing or what night of the week those games are on.

The Pelicans are playing well enough that it shouldn't matter.

Follow Rod Walker on Twitter, @rwalkeradvocate.