April 15, 2014

The New Orleans Pelicans have struggled to beat most of their opponents this season, but they're at least starting to figure out how to compete against some solid competition at home.

The Pelicans try to build on their latest upset Monday night against the visiting Boston Celtics while securing a rare set of back-to-back wins.

New Orleans (5-15) ended a four-game skid by beating Cleveland 114-108 in overtime Friday and held one of the Eastern Conference's top teams to just three points in the extra period. Anthony Davis scored six of the Pelicans' nine points in OT and finished with 31 while pulling down 12 rebounds.

"We've just got to try to find a way to come up with some wins," coach Alvin Gentry said. "To get a quality one like that is good, but for us, it's important to build on this and not take a step backwards. We have to start playing with some consistency from here on."

New Orleans has won three of four at home, including a 104-90 victory against San Antonio on Nov. 20. The Pelicans are averaging 110.1 points at the Smoothie King Center and just 95.8 on the road.

"It just shows that when we play like we're supposed to, we can beat anybody,'' Davis said. "We've just got to do it against teams that are not the Spurs or not Cleveland. We can't play down to the level of our competition. We've got to make sure we're playing at a high level every game."

New Orleans has won consecutive games just once this season, a three-game streak that begin with the victory over San Antonio.

The Celtics, meanwhile, couldn't rally past the Spurs in a 108-105 loss Saturday, their attempt at a third straight win in the midst of this five-game road trip.

Boston (11-9) was the first team to reach triple digits in San Antonio this season but didn't have enough to erase a 15-point deficit with 7:16 remaining.

"The bottom line is we played really well and gave ourselves a chance to win, but we have to be even better in our margin," coach Brad Stevens said. "I've been very careful in saying, 'If we play well, we will have a chance to win.' And the reality is, we didn't."

Boston swept last season's series against the Pelicans and ended a string of three consecutive losses in New Orleans with a 104-98 victory March 6. Isaiah Thomas had a team-best 27 points, 14 of which came in the fourth quarter.

Jared Sullinger had 27 points and 10 rebounds in a 108-100 home victory Jan. 12, and Jae Crowder matched his career high with 22 points. Sullinger sat out the visit to New Orleans because of a broken foot.

Davis is averaging 34.3 points and 14.7 rebounds in his last three games against Boston. He had 40 points and a career-high 21 boards in a 121-120 overtime victory in New Orleans on March 16, 2014.

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