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Pelicans host Celtics on Monday
By: Staff Writer - StatFox
Published: 11/26/2018  at  11:34:00 AM
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The New Orleans Pelicans just finished a road trip.

The Boston Celtics are about to finish a road trip.

Neither team is particularly happy with where it is right now as they prepare to meet Monday night in the Smoothie King Center.

Both teams had success in the playoffs last season and have high hopes for this year. But they are each 10-10.

The Pelicans just got swept on a three-game East Coast trip, losing at Philadelphia on Wednesday, at New York on Friday and at Washington on Saturday.

Boston's road trip started off on a good note as the Celtics won at Atlanta 114-96 on Friday. But then came a 113-104 loss at Dallas on Saturday night, Boston's fourth setback in its last five games.

"We've got to do a better job," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told his team's official website. "Overall, we've got to play better than we're playing. Our defense is atrocious right now.

"You're not going to be able to win games on the road until you can at least control the ball somewhat and take away all the driving lanes and take away the open threes. We've just got a lot of work that we've got to do defensively. We've got to become a lot more committed to our defense."

All-Star forward Anthony Davis missed the game at Washington because of a hip injury sustained a night earlier in New York. It's uncertain whether he'll play against the Celtics.

"Even if we're missing (Davis), we have to play the right way and the right way is to be able to control the ball some," Gentry said. "We haven't done any of those things. So with or without him, if we're not doing those things collectively as a team, it's going to be hard for us to win."

New Orleans is 8-1 at home and its only loss came earlier in the season when Davis was sidelined by a different injury. It swept a three-game homestand and had won six of seven before the road trip.

"I feel like the season is kind of like a rollercoaster," guard Jrue Holiday said. You got ups and you got downs. I think we just won like six out of the last seven, so we just lost three in a row. We get a chance to go back home and get some wins."

Celtics guard Marcus Smart said "words can't even explain" the frustration he's feeling with the losses.

"It feels like deja vu all over again," Smart told the team's official website. "We keep saying and doing the same thing after every game. It's getting real annoying. I don't even know what to say at this point.

"That is the adversity we have to deal with. Times like this, guys and teams tend to point the finger at one another and go their own way ... but this is a tight-knit group and we care for each and every one in that locker room. We are going to stick together. Right now, we are all trying to put our heads together and find out what we have got to do to change it around."

Smart said opponents don't fear Boston the way they did last season when the Celtics reached the Eastern Conference finals.

"We don't impose our fear and will on teams," Smart said. "Last year, when they came in, when they played the Celtics, they knew they were in for a fight. This year, teams can't wait to play us. That's a problem. We have to change that. We have got to come out and be the first ones to hit guys in the mouth. We have to get that swagger back."

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