Pelicans shootaround update presented by HUB International: Anthony Davis out for second game due to elbow sprain
DENVER – For a second straight game, New Orleans will face a formidable Northwest Division foe Monday, again without the services of five-time All-Star forward Anthony Davis. Just prior to this morning’s shootaround in Colorado, Davis (right elbow sprain) was officially ruled out of a Western Conference meeting with the Denver Nuggets. His teammates know that they must perform much better to generate a more favorable outcome than Saturday’s 132-111 defeat vs. Utah, sans Davis. Pelicans starting point guard Elfrid Payton (ankle) and key reserve forward Darius Miller (quad) also will be sidelined against Denver.
“We’ve got to do a little more,” said Jrue Holiday, who indicated that he expects to slide over to point guard in Monday’s game. “Rebounding, (without) his presence on the court, sometimes being a little more physical on the bigs. The guards, we have to crack back and keep those bigs off the boards.”
“Everybody has to step up and do a little bit more, play hard and trust our game plan,” said Julius Randle, who likely will make a second straight start in Davis’ frontcourt spot. “If we do that – and we believe in how we play – we’ll be fine.”
Davis’ status going forward is day-to-day, with New Orleans fourth-year head coach Alvin Gentry saying, “He still has a sore elbow. We’re not going to take any chances six games into the season. When he feels better, we’ll play him.”
Other notes from shootaround:
Is there a more difficult five-game road trip for any NBA team this season than the one the Pelicans are facing? Each of the first four opponents has a winning record, while game No. 5 on the trek is Oklahoma City (1-4), no easy venue for a visiting club.
“You’re not going to have any easy road trips going to the West,” Holiday pointed out, alluding to the conference’s top-to-bottom competitiveness. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Randle: “It’s a good challenge for us, a good test for us. I think we’re up for it.” …
Holiday on how his minutes at point guard will increase, but the team’s philosophy of doling out playmaking and ballhandling responsibilities means it may not be that significant of a change for him: “We don’t even really have a traditional point guard; we just have another facilitator out there. It changes a little bit, but not too much.” Holiday added that he expects Solomon Hill to move into the first unit vs. Denver. In that scenario, E’Twaun Moore would likely be the starting shooting guard, with Hill at small forward and bigs Randle and Nikola Mirotic at the other two spots. …
Holiday’s Nuggets scouting report: “They’ve got a big guy who can pass, score, pretty much do everything for them. They have guards who can shoot threes, cut and get to the basket. They’re a pretty well-rounded team.” …
Gentry noted that with or without Davis, the Pelicans know they must play well to have a chance to beat high-caliber West squads like Utah and Denver.
“It’s no different than what happened the other night: We’re playing a very good basketball team,” Gentry said of the Nuggets. “They’re 4-1, have already beaten Golden State. Same thing with Utah – they’re a very good team and you have to play great to beat them. We would’ve had to play great to beat them (even) if we had AD. It’s a matter of execution, having great shot selection and not turning the ball over, to put yourself in good position to win.”