Lewis: Healthier now, but still another loss for Pelicans _lowres

Memphis Grizzlies guard Courtney Lee (5) goes to the basket against New Orleans Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans (1) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Dear Santa,

How are Mrs. Claus and all of the elves and reindeer?

We’ve tried really, really hard this year not to be naughty but nice. So can you please bring us a reset button for the Pelicans?

They sure need it.

After finally getting out of November and into December on Tuesday at long last they’re almost intact.

Quincy Pondexter still’s MIA, but the return of Tyreke Evans and Norris Cole from the injury list the revealed kind of team it was envisioned to be in their 113-104 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in the Smoothie King Center.

Evans and Cole had missed the first 17 games with a knee and ankle problems respectively.

On Tuesday, Evans started and had a big night — 20 points, 10 assists and five rebounds. Cole contributed 11 points.

That’s a big boost.

The only problem — the Pels didn’t win.

They’re now 4-14, meaning they’ll have go to 41-23 the rest of way just to reach the victory total they had last year which squeezed them into the playoffs by the slimmest of margins.

Not saying that it’s impossible for the Pels to do that, or even if it’s going to take 45 victories to earn the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and the certain first-round matchup with the invincible Golden State Warriors that goes with it.

Barring that, the Pels can only see what they can accomplish in the rest of what will be a season-defining month.

It’s pretty daunting.

Eight of the remaining 14 games of 2015 are on the road, including a five-game stretch away from home between Dec. 12 and 20. The Pels are only 1-9 in road games thus far.

On the other hand, only six of the 14 are against teams that would be in the playoffs if the regular season ended today, including LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers who visit the SKC on Friday and the Los Angeles Clippers on New Year’s Eve.

Winning those home games, coach Alvin Gentry said before Tuesday’s game, is the key to getting to at least hailing distance of the playoffs.

“Early on, we didn’t play well at home,” Gentry said. “Losing home games is really tough in this league because they’re not easy to make up.

“I don’t think there’s a more difficult thing in the four major sports than to win an NBA road game. We’ve got to take care of business at home.”

Obviously beating the Cavs would be a great way to start doing that. They did so last year, 119-114, despite a 41-point night by LBJ.

That was then though. This is now.

It will take going 12-2 the rest of the month for the team to get to .500 by Jan. 1. That would actually get them to eighth in the West based on the current standings.

Not impossible, but close.

“Golden State’s obviously playing very well,” Gentry said. “But I don’t see anyone else running off and leaving the rest of us.

“It’s pretty jammed back there at .500. We’ve just got to find a way to have a win streak, eight of 10, seven of nine or something like that.”

But what if the Pels say, only break even for the rest of the month and are still eight games below .500 going into 2016?

That’s too much for this team to overcome.

Then Demps and Gentry are going to have some decisions to make.

This season’s Pels are virtually an intact version of last year’s, albeit with the idea that Anthony Davis and the rest of the core would be coming into their prime, giving a clear picture of how best to continue to build a championship contender.

At the least, a return to the playoffs was expected.

The injuries have made it more difficult to judge things. And finding out the right combinations to put on the floor is going to take a little time.

So do you start breaking up the core with the idea that with no chance of making the playoffs there’s little incentive to come close?

Trades can be made starting Dec. 15, although most of the players aren’t eligible to be dealt until nearer the deadline.

Ryan Anderson, who is having an outstanding season, and reliable Eric Gordon both have expiring contracts.

Should the team unload them for what they can get or hang on to one or both despite the money they will command next summer?

Should they seek a blockbuster move — going for a significant contributor in the future in exchange for say, Jrue Holiday and this year’s No. 1 pick?

All difficult questions.

Santa, we know you’re very busy right now, so we won’t take up any more of your time.

But, could we please ask for just one more thing?

If you’re bringing us a reset button for the Pelicans, is it too late to throw in one for the Saints, too?

Thought so.