The respective futures of the New Orleans Pelicans and Philadelphia 76ers could be linked for years to come because of their 2013 draft-night trade.
New Orleans fared well in its first game without its key acquisition from that deal, however, and could be without Jrue Holiday again Friday night at Philadelphia.
The Pelicans (19-19) acquired Holiday from the 76ers in June 2013 in exchange for Nerlens Noel – the sixth overall pick – and a 2014 first-round pick. Philadelphia selected Elfrid Payton with that pick last June and dealt him to Orlando for the rights to Croatian forward Dario Saric.
Holiday leads New Orleans in assists (7.1) and steals (1.6) per game but is questionable after missing Wednesday’s 105-94 win at Detroit with a right ankle injury.
The Pelicans ended their season-high five-game road losing streak by dealing the Pistons their second loss in 11 games. They held Detroit to 36 first-half points and led by as many as 24. Anthony Davis had 27 points and 10 rebounds and six other players scored at least eight points.
Five Pelicans, including Holiday, are averaging at least 8.0 points.
"We played the right way," coach Monty Williams said. "That’s the only way I can sum it up. We shared the ball; we defended the ball; we played in transition."
Quincy Pondexter, who was acquired from Memphis on Monday in a three-team deal, had nine points in a season-high 32 minutes in his Pelicans debut. He had been averaging 4.5 points in 18.0 minutes per game for the Grizzlies.
"We’ve all got to be unselfish. That’s what I’m trying to bring to this team, making the extra pass and doing the little things and having fun," he said. "… There are some things I’ve got to improve, but at the same time (my debut) was pretty seamless."
The 76ers (7-31) had won three of four before losing to Atlanta and Toronto. They held Cleveland, Brooklyn and Indiana to a combined 38.8 percent shooting in those three victories, including an 18-for-64 mark from 3-point range. The Hawks and Raptors shot 47.3 percent, however, including 22 of 52 from beyond the arc.
Michael Carter-Williams scored a season-high 29 Wednesday at Toronto but Philadelphia – playing without leading scorer Tony Wroten (16.9 ppg) due to a sprained right knee – was held to a combined 34 points in the first and third quarters of a 100-84 loss.
Noel, who is averaging 7.8 points and 7.1 rebounds, scored 12.
"It was closer to the effort that we want, to move the ball a little better," he told the team’s official website. "We are not all the way there but definitely a little closer. I think we played hard tonight and that is what it is all about."
Robert Covington, who had averaged 15.3 points over his previous 20 games, also didn’t play after suffering a right shoulder injury in warm-ups.
New Orleans, which is looking for its first back-to-back wins since Dec. 16 and 18, has won three consecutive meetings, including two straight in Philadelphia.