Reuters

New Orleans Pelicans stop skid thanks to Gentry speech, Anthony Davis high

Pelicans stop skid thanks to Gentry speech, Davis high

29/12/2018 at 07:57Updated 29/12/2018 at 16:19

Anthony Davis shoulders Pelicans with season high in victory over Dallas Mavericks following tongue-lashing from head coach Alvin Gentry at the half …

The Pelicans have not had a lot to celebrate this holiday season, dropping seven of their last 10 games — including five straight — heading into a home game against the Dallas Mavericks (16-18) at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans Friday night.

However a halftime speech from beleaguered four-year head coach Alvin Gentry helped lift the Pelicans — down 11 points at the half — to a come-from-behind 114-112 win over the Mavs to snap the losing streak and improve the team record to 16-20 overall.

“It wasn’t a G-rated speech,” admitted Gentry. “I was disappointed at the way we approached the game. We have to start getting back to who we were and that is: playing hard, moving the basketball, and finding people. I was just disappointed because I thought the way we started the game was not going to be a game we were going to win. I was just disappointed and I let them know that.”

While trade talk has become the story of the NBA 2017 All-Star MVP Anthony Davis looked anything but distracted putting up a season high 48 points with 17 rebounds, followed by Julius Randle’s 22 points and 12 boards. Teammate Jrue Holiday scored 18, while guard Luka Dončić led the Mavs with 34.

“It was something that we needed, and kind of gave us a lot of juice,” said Davis of Gentry’s pep talk.

"Even after the game he was satisfied with the win, but we can’t continue to play the way we’ve been playing. Trying to play down 10, 12, 14, whatever and then expect to come back and win the game. We have to play the way we played in the second half at the beginning."

Despite the win, the Pelicans remain 14th of 15 teams in the Western Conference — only topping the Phoenix Suns (9-27) by seven games — a complete contrast from last year’s trip to the conference semifinals.

“A lot of these games have been really close games that have come down to a play here and there,” explained Gentry when asked about the play of the team in the fourth quarter. “I thought not the baskets we made, but the play of the game was when we lost the ball and E’Twaun (Moore) ran it down.

“We came back, got a basket out of it, and it would have been disastrous if they (Mavericks) ended up with a basket in that. Just the attitude and effort we played with was the way we have been doing it. If we want to win close games, you just have to dig in and grind your way through and get over the hump. There is a different level you have to play at and sense of urgency you have to play at in a close game in the last three to four minutes. We have to get back to that.”

The Pelicans host the Rockets (19-15) on Saturday followed by the Timberwolves (16-19) on Monday before heading back on the road Wednesday vs the Nets (17-20)

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