The exciting identity promised on day one of the Alvin Gentry era might finally be here.
Alvin Gentry moved Anthony Davis to the starting center position on Monday against the Dallas Mavericks. The New Orleans Pelicans scored 29 fast break points (!) en route to a big win against Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. Tonight, the home team added another 30 fast break points (!!), this time in a rather comfortable victory against the Knicks.
In my quietest, high-pitched tone that my vocal cords will allow before cracking into oblivion, ‘Hey guys, the Pelicans may be onto to something here!’
When the oft-embattled head coach first arrived in the Crescent City, he promised to install a quick-hitting offense that focused on easy points and lots and lots of ball movement. Doesn’t this following play look awfully similar in style to the Golden State Warriors?
Tears of joy, amirite?
It’s taken well over 100 games to get to this point — even if it just turns out to be more of a blip than a thing — but we may be witnessing the groundwork of the desired identity right before our very eyes during what’s turning out to be a shockingly happy holiday season.
In addition to all the easy fast break points, the defense is back to stifling opponents, but this time through the exclusive use of small ball lineups. For instance, off several switches, Brandon Jennings failed to beat Dante Cunningham off the dribble and Kristaps Porzingis was unable to back down Jrue Holiday for an easy shot attempt.
Following the game, Alvin Gentry stated, “I thought we did a great job defensively. We got into Porzingis and took away some of the things he is good at.”
Oh MYYYYYYYYY! Well, we can certainly say goodbye to any lingering turf toe problems after that yam by Holiday in the New York Unicorn’s baby face!
In addition to the 30-12 fast break points edge, the Pelicans outscored the Knicks 46-38 in the paint and attempted 6 more three-point shots despite a 10-2 offensive rebound disadvantage. For those who missed the game, that should signal the Pelicans executed a great offensive game plan — quite a rarity for much of this season.
As I touched on earlier, it’s too early to get carried away this recent revelation because 6 of the next 7 games will come on the road where the Pelicans are a miserable 4-11. Oh, and there’s that daunting hole the team still needs to dig itself out of...
“We still have a long way to go to get our heads above water,” said Gentry. “We did a good job and we’re starting to get there, but when you go 1-8 to start you have 7 games to make up to get to .500. So we still have a ladder to climb to get there.”
Again, spot on coach, but at least we’ve finally hit the stage we expected to see from the Pelicans last season, the players seem to be enjoying themselves immensely, and the team is surging with an apparent identity.