Alvin Gentry is preaching positivity, fighting to keep the glass half full.
But there’s bad news spilling out everywhere for the Pelicans.
On Tuesday, a season plagued by losses — on the court and to the roster — took two more when Anthony Davis left with a shoulder injury in the first quarter of a 115-98 loss to the Nuggets at Smoothie King Center.
Davis’ status for Wednesday night’s game at Oklahoma City was unclear, said Gentry, the Pelicans coach, who was uncertain if New Orleans’ leading scorer and rebounder would make the trip.
Davis — who missed two games and half of a third last week with a hip injury — was unavailable for comment after the game, but point guard Jrue Holiday said the Pelicans knew their star player was “fighting through for this game” after practicing very little Monday.
Davis did participate “a little bit” Monday, Gentry said, adding that the Pelicans “didn’t do a whole lot anyway” at practice.
He said Davis might have taken “a bump” in Sunday’s loss at the New York Knicks and didn’t know if that might have made whatever hit he took Tuesday worse.
“We’ll have all the information that we can later on,” Gentry said.
Davis — who missed at least 14 games in each of his first three NBA seasons — was 0 for 3 in the first quarter on Tuesday with no points and two rebounds.
He entered the game averaging 25.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.
The Pelicans missed him, but they had a strong first half even without him. Trailing 31-21 at the end of the first, New Orleans answered with an 8-0 run to open the second. Six of those points came from Ryan Anderson, who had 11 of his 24 in the first half. Eric Gordon scored 11 of his 19 points in the first half, all of them in the final 4:49 of the second quarter.
The Pelicans led 51-50 at halftime, but then came the third quarter.
It’s been a problem all season for the Pelicans, and it was a major one on Tuesday. Denver outscored New Orleans 32-22 in the third. Danilo Gallinari — who had 32 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Nuggets Tuesday — made all six of his shots in the third.
The Pels are allowing an average of 29.9 points per third quarter this season.
Despite Davis’ injury and those third-quarter struggles, the Pelicans were within striking distance after a Gordon jumper at the 10:47 mark of the fourth quarter cut the lead to 83-77.
But the Nuggets answered with a 3-point play from Randy Foye and a layup from Kenneth Faried to stretch the lead back to 88-77 with 9:05 to play. The Nuggets finished the game 15 for 30 from 3-point range, though Gentry said the Pelicans mostly forced tough looks.
Jameer Nelson, who scored all 16 of his points after the 2:10 mark of the third quarter, helped the Nuggets close out the win, which they sealed in front of a booing home crowd.
The negativity vibes aren’t likely to stop with a few boos, but Gentry said he wants the Pelicans to remain positive.
“I’m not a negative person, and I don’t want our guys to be negative,” Gentry said. “There’s gonna be stuff that’s gonna be written and there’s going to be things that’s going to be said. That’s life.”
It doesn’t get easier for the Pelicans, who visit Oklahoma City on Wednesday and return home Friday to take on the San Antonio Spurs.
“I think in these situations, there’s an old adage about, you find out the true character of a person when adversity is going on,” Gentry said.
“So once again, we’ll be able to look and see, and you can decide who’s all in in these situations.”