Part of the Pelicans' disappointing start has been their dreadful play outside New Orleans. However, they are coming off their second road win of the season and now head to the city where they got their first.
Anthony Davis and the Pelicans look to again take advantage of the poor defense played by the Phoenix Suns, a team they helped send into a tailspin which is still lingering.
New Orleans heads back to Phoenix on Friday night after outscoring Utah 31-15 in the fourth quarter Wednesday to win 104-94 in Salt Lake City.
''From a competitive standpoint, we played the way you have to to win on the road,'' coach Alvin Gentry said.
The Pelicans (7-18) held the Jazz to one field goal in the final seven minutes to improve to 2-12 away from home. It was the fewest points they've allowed in a road game all season and just the third time they held an opponent under 100.
"We hope it is (a turning point)," said Davis, whose team has topped 100 points in back-to-back road games after previously averaging 95.7. The Pelicans score 108.3 per game in New Orleans.
"We need to go to Phoenix with the same mentality, knowing that we already beat them twice. They will come out with lots of energy and effort. We will try to get another win against those guys. We have to make sure that everything from the past few nights carries over to Friday."
A playoff team last season for the first time since 2010-11, New Orleans opened 1-10 this fall before a three-game win streak which included back-to-back victories over Phoenix (11-16). Davis averaged 29.0 points, 18.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks as the Pelicans reached 120 points in both games and won each by six.
The Suns entered the first of those matchups with a respectable 7-5 record but have since gone 4-11, a stretch during which they're allowing a league-worst 109.7 points per game. New Orleans hasn't topped 105 points in any road game other than its 120-114 win in Phoenix on Nov. 25.
It was less of a surprise that the Suns gave up another big number Wednesday. They lost 128-103 at Golden State, letting the league's best team offensively and record-wise put away the game with a 46-point third quarter. Klay Thompson outscored the Suns 27-19 in that period and finished with 43.
"We wasn't helping each other," point guard Eric Bledsoe said. "You know, our defense has kinda been a little bit bad as far as everything. We just gotta get better with that. ... We definitely gotta pick it up defensively."
Bledsoe failed to reach double figures for the first time all season with six points on 3-of-12 shooting. The Suns are 1-8 when he plays and doesn't shoot better than 40 percent.
Ryan Anderson averaged 24.5 points in the first two meetings and led New Orleans on Friday with 24 as he made all 13 of his free throws. He's missed only two of his last 40 attempts.