New Orleans has accrued just an 18-24 record this season, struggling to give a consistent effort on the defensive end. The team is only 2.5 games behind the Grizzlies for the No. 10 seed, which is needed to make the play-in tournament under the league’s new format.
“We’re not where we want to be,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “Certainly on some nights, we look like we’re better than that. On other nights, we don’t. Everybody plays good games, though. When you’re good, it’s when you can do it consistently, night after night after night.
“It’s not what you do on your best night. We have 30 teams who will look great for a game. It’s who can do it night after night. And who can do it when it doesn’t have to be their best game and when they’re not lighting it up shooting the ball and can still find a way to win?”
There’s more from the Western Conference tonight:
- Rockets guard Victor Oladipo is being increasingly regarded as one of the top names that could be moved ahead of the trade deadline, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Houston, losers of 20 straight games, acquired Oladipo in the multi-team deal featuring James Harden earlier this season.
- Warriors guard Jordan Poole continued to emerge in the team’s three-game trip, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes. Poole, a talented 21-year-old player in his second NBA season, finished with 26 points, four rebounds and five assists in the team’s loss to Memphis on Saturday.
- Tim Cato and John Hollinger of The Athletic examine the Mavericks‘ situation as the trade deadline nears. Dallas currently owns the eighth-best record in the West at 21-19 and could express interest in multiple players — including Cleveland’s Andre Drummond.