Morning Shootaround

Alvin Gentry says New Orleans Pelicans' defensive effort 'sucked' vs. Orlando Magic

NBA coaches of late haven’t been mincing words about their teams, be it Golden State’s Steve Kerr calling out his team’s lack of focus to Cleveland’s Tyronn Lue calling his team’s recent skid “unacceptable.” It’s time to apparently add New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry to that list of brutal truth-talkers on NBA benches.

* Recap: Magic 115, Pelicans 99

After his Pelicans allowed the visiting Orlando Magic to shoot 47.1 percent on 3-pointers in last night’s loss, Gentry was blunt in his assessment of his team’s defense. William Guillory of The Times-Picayune has more:

The Pelicans had an opportunity to secure a winning record for the first time since the 2014-15 season, but instead, they put forward a lackluster performance that Gentry described as bringing them back to “square one.”

“We sucked,” he said. “I wish there was another way to put it. We didn’t close out to shooters, they drove the basketball any time they wanted to…It was lack of effort. I didn’t think that we did a very good job of just digging in.”

It wasn’t just the loss that annoyed Gentry, it was the way his squad played that got to him.

“We have to establish consistency,” said Gentry. “We’re not going to be a good team until every night we know what we’re going to get…You don’t have to shoot the ball well every night, this team will go through situations where they don’t shoot it well. But what do you have to do to counter that.

“You’ve got to be good defensively, you have to rebound the ball and then you’ve got to move the ball and get it to the right people.”

Ultimately, Monday’s loss should serve as a reminder to the Pelicans that they still have a long way to go before solidifying their status as true playoff contenders in the Western Conference.

“We didn’t play the right way,” Gentry said. “For us to be a successful team, we have to play the right way. We have to be committed, totally, as a team. We have to do all the things that we’ve been doing to put us in the position we were in.”

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