The Pelicans reached the halfway point of their season-ending AD/DC tour Friday.
AD/DC, of course, stands for Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.
But those letters could also be the team's grades through the first 12 games since the Pelicans landed Cousins from the Sacramento Kings on the night of the NBA All-Star Game.
An "A" some nights, like Friday's 128-112 victory over the Houston Rockets.
A "D" on others, like their 129-99 loss to these very same Rockets in Cousins' Pelicans debut back on Feb. 23.
And a "C" on others.
There were 25 games remaining in the season when Cousins arrived. A dozen games in, and the Pelicans are 5-7 since Boogie came to the Big Easy.
Friday's win was the most impressive since the trade. It was the first against a team with a winning record. With the win, the Pelicans now boast victories against four of the NBA's five best teams record-wise (the Spurs, Cavaliers, Celtics and Rockets) — and they did it without Cousins, who missed the game with knee and rib injuries.
And the latest matchup wasn't against just any Rockets team, but one that very well could represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals, especially if Kevin Durant doesn't return for Golden State. The Rockets are ranked No. 2 in ESPN's latest power rankings, trailing only San Antonio.
"It shows potentially what we can be," coach Alvin Gentry said after Friday's win. "Obviously we didn't have DeMarcus out there. When we lock in and play and focus and don't turn the ball over and get our defense set, it's pretty big."
It may have helped that the Rockets had to stay in Baton Rouge instead of New Orleans because all of the hotels in the city were booked. If so, Tom Benson should book every hotel room in the city the night before every home game.
The 128 points were the most the Pelicans have scored all season. Solomon Hill poured in a career-high 30, looking every bit like the player general manager Dell Demps thought he was signing last summer, instead of the guy who came into the game averaging 6.5 points.
But now comes the hard part for Gentry: He needs to get the Pelicans to play just as well with Cousins as they have played without him since acquiring him. With Friday's win, the Pelicans improved to 2-0 in the games Cousins missed (including one because of a suspension). For whatever reason, this team seems to play its best when a superstar is missing. Remember in January when it beat Cleveland with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love without Davis in the lineup?
"It's just going to take time," said guard Jrue Holiday, echoing Gentry's sentiments.
But time, at least for this season, is ticking. There are just 13 games left, including Sunday's 5 p.m. home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
"All we are going to do is continue to play," Gentry said of the playoff chase. "I don't know what's going to happen. What we talk about doing is going out and playing every game like we're in the playoffs already."
The Pelicans trailed the eighth-place Denver Nuggets by 5½ games following Friday's win. The Pelicans moved up one spot in the standings, going from 13th to 12th in the Western Conference, with a chance to move up to 11th with a win over the Timberwolves on Sunday. And while making up 5½ games with 13 games remaining is a daunting task, the Pelicans have three games remaining against the Denver team that they're trying to catch. Still, Portland, Dallas, Minnesota and Sacramento are in the logjam as well.
Holiday admitted he's keeping an eye on the crowded field jockeying for that No. 8 spot.
"For sure," he said. "We still have a goal, and we haven't reached it yet. We just have to fight. You can hope and pray that they start losing. But at the same time, we have to stay prepared.
"Every game is crucial now. Every game we need to win."