Pelicans briefs: New Orleans back on NBA upswing

New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) celebrates during a timeout late in the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. New Orleans defeated Memphis 95-92.

Nelson Chenault/Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Five thoughts on the New Orleans Pelicans:

1. The Pelicans entered the season with high hopes and the idea that second-year big man Anthony Davis was ready to take over. After an eight-game losing streak, they’ve used a focused defense to overcome some key injuries (Jrue Holiday, Ryan Anderson, Jason Smith) to correct things. They’ve won two straight and compiled at least 10 steals in each.

2. Davis would be in the league MVP discussion if the Pelicans (18-25) were totally healthy and winning more. The former No. 1 overall draft pick compiled 22 points, 19 rebounds and seven blocked shots in Sunday’s win over Orlando. In the last 10 games, Davis is averaging 22.6 points and 11.2 boards. "Size, length, skill-set, intelligence," was how Cavs coach Mike Brown described Davis. "He’s got a lot for a guy his size. He can play anywhere on the floor."

3. When asked prior to Tuesday’s game at Cleveland if Davis should be a Western Conference All-Star, Pelicans coach Monty Williams answered in one word: "Yes." We’ll know for sure Thursday. The All-Star reserves will be announced prior to the Cavaliers-Knicks game on TNT at 7 p.m.

4. Williams said not to read too much into the Pelicans’ improved play in their previous two games — just as they shouldn’t have been buried by fans and media during the skid. "The sample size is still too small," Williams said. "When we were losing everyone thought we were bad and I sucked."

5. The Pelicans had high hopes for Tyreke Evans after obtaining him in an offseason trade with the Kings. But he’s been a little uneven off the bench, averaging 13.1 points on just 41 percent shooting. That includes a miserable 18 percent on 3-pointers. Evans’ scoring average has dipped by at least a point in each of his five seasons. He averaged 20.1 points as a rookie. "He’s gotta learn how to play the way we want him to play," Williams said. "He has to be more consistent on both ends."