The New Orleans Pelicans took it to the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of their playoff series on Friday night with a 119-100 win.
The Pelicans had a 25-point lead late in the third and as much as a 26-point lead late in the fourth. Despite that, Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry said he was “never comfortable” because of how “scary” the Warriors are.
“Because I was on the Warriors’ bench, it made it scary for tonight. … They’re just a scary team. You’re never comfortable,” Gentry said after the game, via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Connor Letourneau.
Gentry would know considering he was an assistant coach for the Warriors in 2014-2015, a year in which they went 67-15 and won the NBA Finals. And he’s absolutely right — the Warriors are a team that can put together a run like few others. They can erase a 15-point deficit in no time or take a 1-point game and turn it into a double-digit margin. That really explains why Anthony Davis played 41 minutes in a game the Pelicans seemed to have under control for the second half.
Alvin Gentry began his post game press conference after the New Orleans Pelicans swept the Portland Trail Blazers by thanking Kobe Bryant and his shoes.
With less than a minute remaining in regulation of Saturday’s game, Jrue Holiday was ruled to have stepped out of bounds with New Orleans up by four points. After the officials reviewed the play, it was determined Holiday’s heels did not touch the baseline and the Pelicans regained possession.
— 6'7-Eleven Inches (@LeBandz_James) April 21, 2018
Holiday hit a jumper a few seconds later to put the Pelicans up 129-123 with 40 seconds to go in the fourth quarter.
After the game, Gentry gave a shoutout to Kobe Bryant and credit to the Kobe 1 shoes Holiday was wearing for him not stepping out of bounds at a crucial juncture in Game 4.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 22, 2018
Kobe had a few laughs at Gentry’s comments.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 22, 2018
Next up for the Pelicans could be a meeting with the Warriors, who swept the Pelicans in the first round of the playoffs in 2015. Anthony Davis seems eager for another shot at the reigning champions.
The 2016-17 NBA season was a time of peace on earth and goodwill towards head coaches — not a single one was fired, marking the first time that had happened since at least Millard Fillmore’s presidency. But the same cannot be said about the 2017-18 campaign, as Earl Watson and David Fizdale have already walked the plank less than two months in. Here are six more coaches whose seats are rapidly warming and could be in danger of following suit.
Doc Rivers, LA Clippers
A recent report suggested that Medicial Practicioner Rivers is likely safe for this season, citing the rash of injuries that have crippled his team in recent weeks. But the ice still seems to thinning underneath him with the Clippers relapsing into their futility of decades past. Their lack of effort and creativity made for a difficult watch even when Blake Griffin was still healthy, and Rivers’ rotations have largely resembled a dart throw otherwise. Welcome to the starting lineup, CJ Williams! Jawun Evans, come on down! And what’s more is that there’s hardly been a Clipper who has improved their play this season despite the increased opportunity with all the injuries and the exit of Chris Paul … except for maybe Lou Williams and Doc’s own son Austin. Now to be fair, the loss of the team’s best offensive player in Griffin and their best defensive player in Patrick Beverley will probably move Lord Steve Ballmer to show mercy on Rivers. But enthusiasm is quickly waning as “What’s up, Doc?” becomes more of a cry of exasperation than a Bugs Bunny catchphrase.
Mike Budenholzer, Atlanta Hawks
New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry believes in the Big Baller way.
Before his team played the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, Gentry paid rookie guard Lonzo Ball the ultimate compliment by saying that he couldn’t see how Ball could possibly fail, per Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times.
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry says Lonzo Ball is an "old soul" and "a coach's dream." Adds: "I don't see how he could possibly fail."
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) October 23, 2017
While Gentry’s players seem much less enthused by the rookie, it’s certainly high praise from somebody who has coached in the NBA for decades and been around elite point guards such as Steve Nash, Chris Paul, and Stephen Curry. Ball has been drawing rave reviews from other basketball higher-ups as well, and it’s becoming obvious that he is much more than just empty hype.
New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry may just be raising the boombox over his head for point guard Jrue Holiday this summer.
In an appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio on Tuesday, Gentry said that re-signing Holiday will be “a number one priority” for the Pelicans.
.@PelicansNBA HC Alvin Gentry "re-signing Jrue Holiday is a number one priority"
— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) May 16, 2017
Holiday, 26, averaged 15.4 points and 7.3 assists per game for New Orleans in 2016-17. An unrestricted free agent this offseason, he should attract interest from a number of different teams and may even get the opportunity for a homecoming or the chance to team up with his brother.
Health is a concern with Holiday — he has averaged just 51.5 games played in his four seasons in New Orleans. But as an explosive two-way guard who can synergize with resident frontcourt menaces Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, it’s easy to see why Gentry and the Pelicans want him back.
The New Orleans Pelicans have lost four straight games and are one of the worst teams in basketball. Typically when that is the case, the team’s head coach is not on solid ground.
But that is the last thing on Alvin Gentry’s mind.
After the Pelicans lost at home to the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night, Gentry cut off a reporter who asked about his job status.
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry "I don't give a shit about my job status, that's not what I worry about" pic.twitter.com/jFIRRuQu15
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) December 9, 2016
“I really don’t give a s— about my job status,” Gentry said. “I’m gonna work hard and I’m gonna coach until the day they tell me I’m not the coach here anymore. I don’t ever worry about that. That’s not anything I ever spend five seconds worrying about. My worry is how do I get the guys in the locker room to play at the level I want them to. That’s where all my effort goes.”
Aside from Anthony Davis, who just may be the MVP of the league, the guys in Gentry’s locker room are not playing at a high level. And based on what Gentry said about Davis recently, we know he thinks incredibly highly of the superstar.
The Pelicans were swept in the first round of the playoffs two years ago, and that cost former head coach Monty Williams his job. The team won 30 games in its first year under Gentry and could be even worse off this season. He knows he could be getting the axe if things don’t turn around in a hurry.
- Alvin Gentry
Alvin Gentry thinks so highly of Anthony Davis that he wouldn’t trade the big man for anybody in the league — not even LeBron James.
The New Orleans Pelicans head coach joined Jay Mohr on FOX Sports Radio Tuesday and was asked about Davis. He then mentioned how valuable he considers the former No. 1 pick to be.
“I wouldn’t trade him for anybody, I can tell you that there’s not anyone in the league that I would trade him for,” Gentry told Mohr.
Mohr then asked whether he would keep Davis if presented with the opportunity to get LeBron in return.
“My guy is 23 years old — he’s going to be around for a long time. I love LeBron and he’s as talented as anybody who has ever played the game, but he’s also a little bit older than my guy by a few years as a matter a fact. But if you’re talking about starting a team right now then yes, but if you’re talking about the very best player in the league then I don’t think there’s any doubt that it is LeBron.”
Davis is in his fifth season in the league and seems to only be getting better. He’s averaging a career-high 31.6 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 1.6 steals per game, and he’s shooting 51.9 percent from the field and 81.3 from the line. Unfortunately his team is only 6-12 this season, but it’s not for a lack of effort on his part. And Gentry probably isn’t crazy to want to keep Davis over anybody else.