New Orleans Pelicans at Orlando Magic game preview
Anthony Davis is toiling on his own while putting up gaudy numbers to start the season for the New Orleans Pelicans.
The superstar forward averages 30.5 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game for the 2-9 squad. He is shooting 48.7 percent from the floor, impressive for a high-usage player such as Davis.
Davis, after a year dealing with injuries and his team’s own struggles, is reclaiming his spot atop the league as one of the most unique and singular talents.
Again though, the Pelicans’ injury issues and his team’s struggles are holding his stardom back.
New Orleans, which picked up its second victory of the season Monday night at home against the Boston Celtics, has only two other players averaging at least 10 points. The fourth-highest scorer, Lance Stephenson, was cut a week ago. The team is still hurting to score, averaging 98.9 points per 100 possessions.
Davis takes a lot of attention, but he needs help. The good news is he may very well get it soon.
Wednesday’s game in Orlando may very well be the last one for Davis without former All-Star guard Jrue Holiday running alongside him. Holiday has been out the entire training camp and preseason to be with his wife, U.S. Women’s Soccer star Lauren Holiday, after the birth of their child and surgery to remove a benign brain tumor.
The Pelicans announced Tuesday that Holiday will return to the team for Thursday’s practice and play Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers. New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry told reporters Holiday has been working out twice per day and appears in great shape as he rejoins the team.
It is something the Pelicans desperately need.
"It will probably take him a couple of games to get back, but as long as he is on the floor it’s going to be good," Davis told the New Orleans Times Picayune. "When you are missing one of your guys and they come back around, it’s always a happy feeling."
Holiday averaged 16.8 points per game and 6.0 assists per game in 65 games last year for New Orleans. Adding him back to the lineup will be a major benefit and support to Davis and the Pelicans’ fledgling offense.
Until he returns, they can take solace in playing another team that is struggling as much as they are.
The Magic (4-7) scored only 69 points against the Indiana Pacers in a 19-point loss Monday. Their 33 percent shooting continued to crater their league-worst 41.0 percent shooting this season. Like the Pelicans, the Magic rank near the bottom of the league in points per 100 possessions.
"We had a few games now where we just can’t score, we can’t find a rhythm offensively," Magic center Nikola Vucevic told the Orlando Sentinel following Monday’s game. "I don’t know the exact reason for it. We’re getting good shots. Maybe we can get better shots."
Magic coach Frank Vogel called his team’s performance Monday "very disappointing," especially after scoring 119 points in Oklahoma City the night before in an emotional victory.