Davis could be back as Pelicans oppose Thunder

NEW ORLEANS -- Despite losing their past two games in ugly fashion, the New Orleans Pelicans got some hopeful news Sunday that forward Anthony Davis probably will be able to start Monday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Davis was placed into the NBA's concussion protocol during a 146-114 loss at Denver on Friday night after Nuggets center Nikola Jokic inadvertently bumped him in the head in the third quarter. Davis left the court and did not return.

The Pelicans (8-8) announced Sunday that Dr. Misty Suri, the team's director of medical services, and Dr. Andrew Gottschalk, the team's concussion management specialist, said Davis had sustained a bruised orbital bone above his right eye but not a concussion.

The Pelicans allowed 135.5 points per contest in the past two games. In Denver on Friday night -- a game win which the Pelicans allowed 82 points in the second half -- New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry was irate with his team's defensive effort. The 146 points allowed were the most in franchise history.

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"It sucked. It sucked. It sucked. That's my thoughts on the game," Gentry said. "We didn't do anything right, and everything was terrible, coaching included. It was an embarrassment. We embarrassed our franchise, and that includes everyone.

"Everyone wants to talk about the tough stretch. They're all tough stretches. When you're playing on the road or at home, and you're playing against good teams -- or any team in the NBA -- they're capable of beating you on any night."

Even 48 hours after the blowout, Gentry was in no mood to talk about it.

"I don't really have anything to say," Gentry said on Sunday. "The last game, we were terrible. Like I said, I thought everything was. The play, the coaching, the approach. Everything was. I take that upon me because I've got to have those guys ready to play. And we weren't ready to play. The approach was not what it should've been, and the focus was not what it should've been."

Even though Davis averaged 29.3 points and 10.3 rebounds against Oklahoma City last season, the Thunder (8-8) swept the Pelicans in four meetings, winning by an average of 11.8 points. Russell Westbrook was the major reason, averaging a triple-double in the four games: 34.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 10.0 assists.

Thunder coach Billy Donovan is 6-1 lifetime against New Orleans, but Oklahoma City is fighting through some rough late-game failures. The Thunder blew a 23-point lead against San Antonio on Friday night and lost 104-101.

The Spurs outscored the Thunder by 20 points in the final three quarters after Oklahoma City limited San Antonio to a season-low 15 points in the first period. The Thunder also surrendered an 18-point lead to the Boston Celtics in a 101-94 home loss on Nov. 3.

Asked how they could fix the late-game quagmires, Westbrook went back to basics: "Just play the same way (for) 48 minutes," he said.

Donovan said of the loss to the Spurs, "I knew they were going to make a run, but I really didn't feel like it was because we got comfortable, we got relaxed."

In 15 games, Davis is averaging 25.1 points and 11 rebounds on 56.7 percent shooting.

The Pelicans allowed Denver to shoot 62.9 percent from the field on Friday and Toronto to shoot 59.2 percent from the field on Wednesday. Opponents are shooting 38.1 percent from 3-point range against New Orleans this season.