February 01, 2015

Alvin Gentry's fast-paced offense that helped him win a title with Golden State as an assistant last season only can be considered efficient if his players knock down the open jumpers it's designed to create.

The main reason he's still searching for his first victory is because the New Orleans Pelicans simply aren't doing that.

New Orleans looks to end its worst start in 11 years Friday night when it hosts an Atlanta Hawks team seeking a sixth straight win.

Gentry knew he wasn't inheriting shooters like reigning MVP Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson when he took the job with the Pelicans after the high-scoring Warriors thrived in his system and won the franchise's first championship in 40 years.

But he probably also didn't envision watching his new club shoot just 40.9 percent during an 0-4 start. Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday all are shooting below that mark.

New Orleans has lost twice to Gentry's former team while getting off to its worst start since dropping the first eight of 2004-05. Davis, who shot 53.5 percent from the field and averaged 24.4 points last season, has been facing a number of double- and triple-teams with opponents focusing on making someone else beat them.

Not only is Davis struggling, but his teammates haven't been able to hit shots when he passes out of it. He made 3 of 12 from the field and finished with 14 points in Tuesday's 103-94 loss to Orlando.

"I've just got to find the (open) guy, try to make the right play, which I'm trying to do," Davis told the team's official website. "Then it's on the guys to knock down the shots. Once they do that, then (the defense) can't double and triple team as much, because we have guys who can shoot the ball.

''I just want to be the best I can be to help the team win. I feel I'm not doing it right now."

Injuries haven't helped. Tyreke Evans (right knee), Quincy Pondexter (left knee) and Norris Cole (left ankle) all have yet to play, and Omer Asik has seen just 10 minutes while battling a right calf strain. Kendrick Perkins is out with a right pectoral issue.

"Some of the guys that can help (Davis) are not healthy yet," Gentry said. "But we still have to get into a rhythm offensively. The missed shots don't bother me as long as they're good shots, but some of the shots we're taking are not very good shots.

"We've got a lot of work to do."

The Pelicans have won four of the last five meetings with the Hawks. Davis is averaging 26.0 points and 11.3 rebounds while shooting 52.9 percent in the last four.

Atlanta (5-1) has been coming together defensively, though, and outscored Brooklyn by 12 in the fourth quarter of Wednesday's 101-87 home win. It has held opponents to 94 points or fewer over the last four and totaled 15 steals and 10 blocks against the Nets.

Paul Millsap had five steals to go along with 12 points and nine boards, while Al Horford finished with 21 points and two blocks.

"Guys were moving, guys were active on defense," Millsap said. "If we do that every night, those kinds of things will happen."

Dennis Schroder scored 20 points starting in place of Kyle Korver, who got the night off to rest his surgically repaired right ankle. Korver could be back for this matchup.

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