When the Pelicans want to load the court up with offense, it can be a lethal combination for opposing defenses.
With a lineup featuring guard Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday and Eric Gordon alongside forwards Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis, the Pelicans have been particularly effective. It’s why that quintet finished Monday’s 130-125 win over Denver together in crunch time.
“I think it works really well, especially at the end of the game, because all of us can score in our own kind of way,” Gordon said. “Everybody can put the ball on the floor, so you don’t have to worry about us being in a tough situation because we can all create our own shot. If we are moving the ball, with that group, I don’t think there’s a team that can slow that group down.”
Entering Wednesday’s tilt against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Pelicans had employed that lineup for just 13 total minutes this season and a found a way to overwhelm opponents with it, holding a 53-20 advantage in their brief stint together.
“They’ve only played together six minutes before (Sunday), so it is a really small sample size, but those are the guys that I see (finishing the game),” coach Alvin Gentry said. “I think Jrue is playing well and is in a good place and is very accepting of the role we’ve asked him to take with Tyreke out there. Eric is shooting well and has made some clutch baskets for us.
“Obviously with Ryan and AD out there, it’s a good lineup. I think sometimes you’ll see us go offense-defense, but I do like that lineup.”
The Pelicans, while healthier, are now slower than they used to be.
Prior to Nov. 30, New Orleans ranked No. 7 in the league, cracking the 100-possessions-per-game barrier. However, since Evans returned to the lineup, New Orleans has slunk to 98.8 possessions, which is 20th-best.
So when Gentry was asked about if he’s been amenable to adjusting his up-tempo philosophy to match his roster’s strengths, he qupped: “I don’t know, you’re going to have to ask Tyreke that.”
Then Gentry addressed the matter seriously, saying although the team’s pace has dropped since Evans returned to the lineup, he’s pleased with the way Evans has performed and that he’s finding a way to be effective offensively, even if it’s not exactly how Gentry envisioned it.
“As a coach, you always have to adjust to the personnel you have,” Gentry said. “I think the way we’ve been playing has been good, it’s just not the high octane pace that I first anticipated yet.”
Even though it was a brief stopover, the New Orleans Pelicans were glad to be home.
After completing an 11-day road swing that meandered from Chicago through the Rocky Mountains and dipped into the Arizona dessert, the Pelicans returned to New Orleans for a brief one-game home stint before leaving again Christmas Eve.
It was the team’s longest road swing of the season.
“I ain’t never missed home that much,” Evans said.
New Orleans finished the trip 2-3, notching victories in Utah and Denver.
“I think it gives the players a little bit of peace of mind just being back at home with their family and everything,” Gentry said.
Norris Cole left the floor early in the second quarter after suffering a left knee injury and hobbled into the locker room. … Gordon started Wednesday’s game strong, scoring eight points in the first seven minutes. He also had a steal and three rebounds. … Jrue Holiday addressed fans before the game to wish them Happy Holidays and thank them for support.