An acclimation period should’ve been expected. Despite the initial “next man up” rhetoric preached in the New Orleans Pelicans’ locker room following a dynamic roster upheaval, some reflection has prompted several players and coach Alvin Gentry to admit the process required time. And in the midst of a three-game winning streak entering the All-Star break, it appears the Pelicans have acquitted themselves well following a turbulent stretch. A season-ending injury to DeMarcus Cousins was promptly followed by trading a first-round pick, Omer Asik, Jameer Nelson and Tony Allen for Bulls’ forward Nikola Mirotic. The Pelicans scuffled while they recalibrated, losing five of six games, none of which were within doubt entering crunch time. But, a double-overtime victory in Brooklyn preceded walkaway wins over the Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Lakers, constructing a confidence-building streak entering a nine-day layoff between games. It proved the Pelicans are still capable of making a push toward the playoffs and potentially breaking out of a jammed pack in the Western Conference standings. “We are just figuring out what kind of style we want to play now,” Anthony Davis said. “I think we are working it out. That loss was tough, with Cuz. But guys are stepping up and trying to fill that offense we were lacking, because he went out.” It just took more than a handful of trips up and down the floor together.
Pelicans' adjustments without DeMarcus Cousins beginning to pay off
The Advocate | Feb 16