DENVER, CO - MARCH 2: Elfrid Payton #4 of the New Orleans Pelicans handles the ball against the Denver Nuggets on March 2, 2019 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Game 65: Pelicans-Nuggets Quotes 3/02/19

New Orleans Pelicans Head Coach Alvin Gentry:
On the win:
“I thought we were struggling early. I thought we were trying to do too much. We did too much dribbling against this team and it’s not a team that you can dribble with, they have great hands. They had 12 turnovers the first half and all of them came from deflections. I think, with ball movement and player
movement, we were able to do much better. Starting in the second quarter, really, we moved the ball and passed the ball better. Then, I thought we were better defensively. We had to get them off the 3-point line, I think they had six threes in the first quarter and nine in the game. We did a much better job of
running them off of the three. I thought we played hard and competed at a real, real high level. I thought Frank [Jackson] stepped up, obviously, he played great. [Jahlil Okafor] had his moments and I thought Julius [Randle] and Jrue [Holiday] was really, really good when we needed him the most. It was a really good win against a real quality team.”

On playing physically and limiting Nikola Jokic’s minutes:
“We got him in foul trouble. If he’s not on the floor, he can’t score. If he’s on the floor, he’s going to score. Even in limited minutes, he gets 20 points. He’s a great, great player. He really is a terrific player. I thought we did as about a good of a job as we’re going to do on him from the standpoint of not allowing him to be a facilitator, we made him a scorer and he did. He scored in back downs but we took the three out of the game and I thought that was the most important thing.”

On having only one turnover in the fourth quarter:
“We talked about being better with the ball because we thought that if we’re not turning the ball over and we’re getting shots at the basket, there’s a good chance we’ll score the basketball or at least get to the line. I think that’s really what happened. We either scored it or we got to the line or we came up with some offensive rebounds. It was a well-played game against, like I said, a quality team. These guys are a really, really good team and I think they’re going to be a tough out in the playoffs.”

New Orleans Pelicans Guard Jrue Holiday:
On coming back to win after falling behind by 19:
“It’s the same thing we do every time we’re down. I think we lock in, especially here coming in the first couple of minutes, the first quarter is tough. You just kind of have to get your rhythm and from that point, I think our energy picked up. I think defensively, we executed well. Jokic got in foul trouble quick, so that
definitely benefitted us.”

On whether trying to get Nikola Jokic into foul-trouble was part of game plan:
“No, they’re pretty physical, they’re pretty handsy. He got a couple fouls called on him and from that point, hopefully, it threw him off rhythm. He had to come in late and try to make something happen, but that’s definitely on our side, him being in foul trouble.”

On effort level:
“We have to be if we want to win. Sometimes, it’s a little easier with Anthony [Davis] out there, where talent just takes over. But, when he’s not there and we’re on a back-to-back, we just have to be scrappy. I know Julius [Randle] is, I know E.P. [Elfrid Payton] is, myself and Frank, we have a lot of guys that’s going to play hard and give us a good boost.”

New Orleans Pelicans Guard Frank Jackson:
On comeback win in one of the most difficult places to play in the NBA:
“I just think we were the hardest playing team at the end of the day, both offensively and defensively. We were able to get stops, we were able to share the ball and kind of feed off our leader’s energy in Julius and Jrue. I just thought we were the hardest playing team tonight.”

On Jrue Holiday’s steal to seal the game:
“That’s different, Jrue is a freak athlete. To me, he’s the best guard in the league. He makes plays like that every day. That was a huge play.”

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