ORLANDO, Fla. — Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry was raving about the job first-year Magic coach Scott Skiles has done with his team at almost exactly the same time that Skiles was praising the job Gentry has done with New Orleans.
“Scott has probably done as good a job as anybody in the league so far this year,” Gentry said before Monday’s game. “From where this team was, and the level that they’re playing, they’re in every single game, and they give themselves an opportunity to win because of the effort that they play with.”
Skiles, speaking just before Gentry, said almost the same thing.
“They’re a completely different team than what we played early in the season,” Skiles said. “You start the season with a few injuries, a minutes restriction on Jrue Holiday, a new coach, a new system … the next thing you know, they’re 1-11. But they appear to have solidified themselves and stabilized now. They’re a good team. The way the West is now, they’re certainly not out of anything.”
Praise for Davis
Anthony Davis was less than stellar in the early-season matchup, scoring 14 points on 3-of-12 shooting, but Orlando knows how dangerous Davis can be.
“He’s such a versatile player,” said Magic center Jason Smith, the former Pelicans big man. “He’s young, athletic, he can dribble, shoot, drive, block shots, gets to the free throw line, you name it. You just try to contain him as much as you can, but it’s hard to do with a high-caliber player like him.”
“You’ve got to say he’s a top-five talent in the league,” Skiles said.
Scoring 100-plus is a must
Gentry loves to push the pace. It’s a staple for all of his teams.
Recently the offensive output has seen a bump. The Pelicans won three of their previous four games coming into Orlando by averaging 118 points per game.
The 100-point threshold has been imperative to New Orleans’ success this season. The Pelicans are 0-14 when scoring less than 100 points.
“That’s the way I like to play,” Gentry said. “I think that’s the way players like to play, and I think fans like to see that kind of basketball.”
Gordon gets hot
Eric Gordon quietly had one of the best shooting performances New Orleans has seen in its 110-108 victory over Houston on Saturday.
Gordon scored 26 points on 10-of-12 shooting including 6-of-8 on 3-pointers. He became the first player to connect on at least 80 percent of his field goals while attempting at least 12 shots and also connect on at least 75 percent of his 3-point attempts while attempting at least eight since 2007.
“I had it going,” Gordon said. “As long as our team stays in a good rhythm, then I get in a good rhythm as well. I was mixing it up by going to the basket, but I was knocking down 3s.”