Anthony Davis taking steps toward return for Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans' Anthony Davis is making steady progress in his quest to return to the starting lineup after fracturing his left hand. That moment can't come soon enough for Davis or his teammates.
Tuesday night, the Pelicans fell to the Golden State Warriors 104-93 and struggled in several categories that they they usually dominate.
The Pelicans entered the game fourth in the NBA in fast break points, averaging 16.9 points per game in transition. The Warriors, however, outscored the Pelicans 16-9 in transition.
Eric Gordon went scoreless in the first half for the first time all season. Coming in to the contest, Gordon had recorded double digit scoring in 19 of the Pelicans first 22 contests. Gordon finished the night with 5 points.
Golden State outscored New Orleans 44-24 in the paint.
"We just weren't hungry enough tonight for whatever reason to start the game, and we couldn't dig ourselves out of that hole," head coach Monty Williams said. "We kind of got it back at halftime, but on the road you can't afford that, especially when you're undermanned. I love Jrue Holiday's fight though, I really do. He and Ryan Anderson may take tough shots at times, but they just compete and fight the whole game. We have to get all five guys doing that from the start, and that's on me. I have to get guys thinking that way to start the game and understanding we have to have guys playing at optimum level when you have Greg Stiemsma, Anthony Davis and Tyreke Evans out."
So how is Davis progressing? He's keeping up with his cardio conditioning and is doing court drills, waiting for the ok to get back out on the floor. He's been seen taking practice shots pre-game, sans his hand brace.
"Obviously you lose a guy who's capable of scoring 25 and giving you 15 rebounds and a few blocks, it's difficult to replace that," Williams said. "You really can't, and you just have to deal with that. Hopefully we get him back soon."
Despite Davis' absence from the game for the past few weeks, Williams believes the second-year player should be in the conversation for Most Improved Player.
"I don't know why he's not in the talk for Most Improved with the way he's elevated his game," Williams said. "Just all the work he's put in, I think it's phenomenal to see a guy do it the right way. That's what we love about him. He's coach able, yet he still has an edge about him."
On the subject of Most Improved, the winner of that accolade in 2012, Ryan Anderson, continues to be a bright spot for New Orleans.
Ryan Anderson entered Tuesday's game first in the NBA in free throw shooting at 97.7 percent and first in the NBA in three point field goals made per game at 3.5. Anderson recorded 5-5 free throw shooting versus the Warriors and was 2 of 5 on three-point attempts.
"They do such a good job with misdirection plays and pick-and-pops that force you to make a decision and Ryan Anderson is a guy that hurts you with his ability to shoot the basketball," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "Putting Andre Iguodala on Anderson gave us an opportunity to at least play the pick-and-roll and trust that he would get to the shooter. That was one of the key ways that they hurt you. We knew coming in that we had to play top notch pick-and-roll defense."
The Pelicans next take on the LA Clippers Wednesday night at the Staples Center.