What the New Orleans Pelicans had to say about 102-96 loss to the Wizards (1/8/14)

Pelicans Head Coach Monty Williams
On what went wrong in the second quarter

“We just didn’t compete in the second quarter, not to the level that they were competing. They just played harder. (Jan) Vessely and Nene came into the game and I thought Vesely was just outworking everybody. The biggest deal to me was that the level of competing was different. We didn’t make any adjustments. We just did what we were supposed to do and we had a 30 to 15 quarter.”

On the team’s lack of energy

“There’s no excuse for that. We’ve got young guys. For us to not be able to play with the effort that it takes to win a game, especially when you’re undermanned, not having Ryan (Anderson) and having a couple guys not play well, you have to [play with energy]. Being tired is not an excuse.”

On the next five games against division opponents

“If we compete and play hard we can play against anybody. I believe that. I know that to be true and I said that to our team tonight. If you compete in this league, if you’ve got that NBA symbol on your jersey and you compete, you give yourself a chance to win. We’ve shown the ability to compete against top level teams. That’s all we have to do is compete.”

Pelicans center Alexis Ajinca
On the second quarter
“They came out with a lot of energy and hit some tough shots and that got us down a little bit. In the 4th quarter we came back with a great bench and great defense and that’s what got us back in the game.”

On the fatigue of the team
“I think we were a little bit tired, especially at the beginning of the game. We didn’t come out with a lot of energy. We had a little moment, then we got tired. Sometimes it’s all in the head, and sometimes it’s in the legs, and tonight I think it was a little bit of both.”

Pelicans guard Austin Rivers
On the second quarter
“I think our energy was down. I didn’t think we were focused and we didn’t compete. As of late we’ve been picking up a bad habit, that when we get down like six or seven points we act like the game is over, and then the lead just gets worse. That’s not coaching, that’s not anything, that’s on us. We have to figure out a way that when things aren’t going right we can’t let our offense dictate our defense or vice versa. We have to be able to compete. It’s been a habit we’ve picked up in the last four or five games where we got beat pretty good. We’re NBA players, and we have to compete every night no matter who we play. We played the Wizards tonight and they have elite players, just like we do, and I just don’t think we were competitive.”

On the vocal leadership of the team
“I think we do need a little more of that. Jrue (Holiday) does a great job of that, Jrue and Jason (Smith), and Ryan (Anderson). We don’t have Ryan and he’s a key guy. I don’t want to make excuses and say not having Ryan is the reason why we’re losing, but he is one of those guys that when things aren’t going right he yells and says do this or do that, but we all have to hold ourselves accountable.”