But new center Jonas Valanciunas insisted the Pelicans have not lost hope and plan to remain resilient.
“I see one thing, that we’re not going to give up,” Valanciunas said, via Scott Kushner of NOLA.com. “We’re not going to stay home. We’re going to come back (and) fight again. Win or lose, we’re going to fight again until this thing’s going to turn over. We’re going to keep believing it, we’re going to keep fighting and we’re going to keep doing what we do.”
The Pelicans (2-12) are in their first season under coach Willie Green, who has also expressed positivity in the face of adversity. Along with Williamson, they had also been missing small forward Brandon Ingram for a few games. He returned for Saturday’s win over the Grizzlies.
“We won. It feels good to say that,” Green said after New Orleans snapped its nine-game losing streak. “It’s been building toward this. Even in the last game (a 120-112 loss on Friday to the Nets), we could see player movement, ball movement, guys knocking down shots. We just stuck with it.
“We’ve got a long way to go, but we’re just going to enjoy tonight being in the winner’s circle for the first time in a while.”
Guard Jason Hart has been impressed with Green, a former NBA guard who’s in his first season as a head coach at any level.
“Willie has the ultimate trust in me to go out there and play my game and play with confidence,” Hart said. “The biggest thing that we talked about was not just standing in the corner and hoping and praying for the ball to do something. He is putting me in positions where we’re running actions on the weak side, and I have the ball and I’m making the decisions — hitting Jonas on top or other guys on the curl.
“That’s something Willie does a great job of with everybody, especially a big difference from last year to this year.”