Anthony Davis went from 59 points on a Sunday to nine on Tuesday, from 34 field-goal attempts in a record-setting afternoon in Detroit to nine in a loss at Washington.
And though the Pelicans don’t want their star shooting so rarely — the nine attempts were Davis’ fewest this season in a game in which he played more than 20 minutes — coach Alvin Gentry didn’t pin the blame on Davis.
Rather, the coach credited the Wizards’ defensive strategy in their 109-89 win Tuesday night. Gentry lauded Washington forward Jared Dudley — whom he coached in Phoenix — for fronting Davis to deny entry passes. That, combined with double-teams from help defenders, limited touches.
That kept Davis from repeating his 24-of-34 shooting day in a 59-point, 20-rebound game in Detroit on Sunday. Davis had another 20 rebounds against the Wizards.
“The one thing you got to understand about AD, he’s not going to force shots up there so he can have 20 shots,” Gentry said after Wednesday’s practice. “If they’re doing a good job, he’s going to still try to play in the flow of the game. As coaches, we’ve got to try to figure out — even with two guys on him — how we can get more shots on him, which we tried to do.”
The Pelicans will go back to the drawing board Thursday, when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Smoothie King Center.
But Davis will need some help. His game against Detroit has put defenses on notice to key on Davis and make other Pelicans deliver. New Orleans shot 34.9 percent from the floor against the Wizards, including 6 of 23 from 3-point range.
“Game-planning, I’m sure (Washington’s) only deal was, ‘We got to get this guy under control,’ ” Gentry said. “So we tried things and tried to get him into space, and what happens is that because of the way they’re playing, it makes shots available for some other players, and those players have to step up and be able to make the shots.”
Williams on hold
Monty Williams — the Oklahoma City assistant coach and former Pelicans head coach — has yet to return to the Thunder bench since his wife, Ingrid, was killed in an automobile crash on Feb. 10, and he’s not expected to make the trip to New Orleans.
Several Pelicans players visited Monty Williams in Oklahoma City when the teams played there on Feb. 11, and attended Ingrid Williams’ funeral there last Thursday.
Eric Gordon hasn’t played since fracturing the ring finger on his right hand on Jan. 21, and though the original timetable was for him to miss four to six weeks, Gentry said Wednesday there’s no set time for his return.
“He’s day-to-day,” Gentry said. “We don’t have a projected time that he’s going to come back. I think that he wants to be back and he wants to be back playing, and he’s doing everything he can rehabbing and everything like that. Obviously we’d like to have him.”