Jrue Holiday tries to dunk over Andre Drummond

Pelicans shootaround update presented by HUB International: Andre Drummond a major test as NOLA tries to improve rebounding

by Jim Eichenhofer

You know it was a forgettable game Saturday in Dallas when one of the questions Jaxson Hayes was asked following Monday’s shootaround referenced whether the Pelicans decided to “burn the tape” of their 46-point defeat to the Mavericks. Instead of destroying the evidence of what happened at American Airlines Center, Hayes said the Pelicans are using the loss to try to improve. There are plenty of areas where that’s possible in Monday’s 7 p.m. game against Detroit, after New Orleans endured its worst shooting game of the season (3 of 32 on three-pointers) and was outscored 40-14 in the third quarter.

“You never burn the tape,” Hayes responded. “There is always a lot of stuff to learn. In film (while preparing to face the Pistons), we watched a bunch of stuff, little things we have to get better at.”

Detroit (9-14) presents a unique challenge for Hayes and other frontcourt players for New Orleans (6-17), particularly with center Andre Drummond being a constant presence on the glass and in the paint. Drummond is on pace to lead the NBA in rebounding for a third consecutive season, averaging 17.0 per game, including 4.7 on the offensive boards alone. New Orleans only has five players averaging more total rebounds per game than 4.7, led by Derrick Favors (8.9), but Favors is listed as questionable to play Monday.

“We’ve just got to work on (being physical with) him, not just going straight for the ball,” Hayes said of what teams must do differently to counteract Drummond. “Hit him, box him out, that’s a big key to this game.”

Other notes after Monday’s shootaround:

New Orleans has been outrebounded in six of the eight games during its current losing streak, with the only exceptions being Nov. 27 vs. the Lakers and two days later at Oklahoma City, both by relatively narrow margins. …

Among the other downsides of Saturday’s game at Dallas, the Pelicans finished with a season-low 17 assists. Alvin Gentry noted afterward that New Orleans needs to continue to move the ball and not devolve into playing isolation basketball in the halfcourt attack.

“I know we weren’t hitting a lot of shots, but we’ve got to play together, do a lot of other stuff better than what we did,” Hayes said. “Our whole focus is to get better. Not have what happened the other day.” …

Hayes on the valuable experience of having faced ultra-tough Thunder center Steven Adams recently, as he gets ready to match up with Pistons bigs like Drummond and Blake Griffin: “I feel like it helps a lot, going against that physicality already. I’m getting more used to it.”

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