Pelicans Al-Farouq Aminu stepping up his game

The Pelicans weren’t able to bring their newfound success on the road home to the Orleans Arena Wednesday, but even in defeat, forward Al-Farouq Aminu found a way to build on his promising performance against the Chicago Bulls in triple overtime earlier this week.

Monday in Chicago, Aminu starred in the second overtime period, coming up with several clutch plays including a three pointer, a crucial lay up and a running slam. Aminu scored seven of the team’s 13 points in the second OT. He finished the night with what was then a season high 14 points and tied his season high of 9 rebounds.

Wednesday versus the Dallas Mavericks, a team Aminu has enjoyed success against before, he  pushed the envelope even more, posting a new season high of 16 points and tying his career high of 20 rebounds. He had a double-double by halftime.

The Pelicans lost the game by three points though, falling to the Mavericks 100-97.

“I always grade myself on wins and losses,” Aminu said. “It really doesn’t matter what I do. It’s a disappointing night.”

Aminu’s team-first attitude is important and admirable. Realistically however, now that New Orleans is without forward Anthony Davis for 4-6 weeks, improved play from Aminu is crucial if the Pelicans hope to remain competitive until Davis’ return.

Perhaps Aminu’s recent time on the bench helped put things in perspective. Coach Monty Wiliams chose not to play Aminu at all on the road in Philadelphia last Friday. The man the Pelicans call “Chief” played backup from the bench Sunday in New York versus the Knicks.

Aminu returned to the starting lineup Monday against the Bulls and again Wednesday versus the Mavericks. He’s playing with a newfound sense of passion and urgency, which the Pelicans will need Friday when they take on Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder at home.