Jrue Holiday knew there would be “a little extra” added to his minutes restriction when he and the Pelicans took on visiting Golden State on Saturday.
It was what he had bargained for. Limited to 10 minutes to start the preseason, Holiday has seen a quick, steady increase in the number he’s allowed to play as he recovers from a stress reaction in his right leg.
So Holiday played a season-high 27 minutes in the Pelicans’ 134-120 loss in the Smoothie King Center.
“I think we took the precautionary measures earlier so that I could do that,” he said. “I guess you could call it negotiating.”
But coach Alvin Gentry doesn’t want too much wiggle room in Holiday’s minutes. Holiday was supposed to be limited to 25 minutes — up from 20 earlier in the week — in the Golden State game, but he went slightly over because the “pace of the game didn’t stop” to substitute for Holiday.
Going forward, the Pelicans will be “a little cautious” about Holiday’s extra minutes, Gentry said.
“But I think he’s coming along fine,” Gentry said. “We’ve just got to stay within what we’re trying to do.”
Holiday — who has played in two of New Orleans’ three games, averaging 17 points and 4.5 assists in 24 minutes per game — said he has played without pain so far, including Saturday.
“I felt good,” he said. “Obviously there’s times there where I felt a little tired, but other than that I was good.”
But whether or not Holiday is on the court, the Pelicans have work to do offensively.
After a second loss to the Warriors in less than a week, Gentry said his team was “selfish” at times. On Sunday, he backed off that word choice, but he remained critical.
“I probably shouldn’t have used the word ‘selfish,’ because that’s probably not a good word, but maybe ‘trying too hard,’ ” Gentry said. “Everybody’s trying to do what’s best for the team, but they try to take it on themselves to do it.”
And though the Pelicans have been better offensively with Holiday on the floor, he’s not the only solution.
New Orleans is shooting 46.6 percent from the floor and scoring 113.1 points per 48 minutes when Holiday is on the court. Those numbers drop to 40.9 percent and 97.1 points per 48 when he’s off it.
But the Pelicans average more assists per 48 minutes with Holiday on the bench (21.4) than with him on the court (18.8), and ball movement has been an issue regardless of who’s on the floor.
New Orleans ranks 21st in the 30-team NBA in percentage of field goals assisted at 53.2 percent. That’s a particularly low number in Gentry’s fast-paced system. Golden State, which runs a variation of the same offense, has assists on 62.3 percent of its field goals this season. Boston leads the league at 76.1 percent.
The Pelicans had 22 assists in Saturday’s loss.
“I mean, when you score that many points, you expect 35, almost 40 (assists), if you’re scoring that many,” guard Eric Gordon said. “We just got to share the ball a lot more.”
Kendrick Perkins, who started at center for the Pelicans in each of their first three games, is out indefinitely with a right pectoral injury, the team announced.
Perkins, who was injured in the first quarter of Saturday’s loss to Golden State, will be the third Pelicans center and eighth player to miss time since the start of the preseason with an injury.
“It’s kind of, early on, one of those years,” Gentry said. “We’ll just see what’s gonna happen there (with Perkins).”
Quincy Pondexter, the Pelicans’ projected starter at small forward, has yet to play after offseason knee surgery. He was originally expected to return sometime in November, and Gentry said the team is sticking with that.
“He’s looking closer, but at the end of the day, the timetable is for him to be back at a certain time, and we’re not gonna push the envelope there,” Gentry said. “He’ll do everything he can to get back on the floor, but we’re gonna be smart about that.”