NEW ORLEANS — Monty Williams stood up near midcourt, hands delicately placed in his suit pants pockets.
He watched as time and again, his players failed to finish a play in the paint. He watched as Golden State rebounded. And he watched as the Warriors did what his Pelicans couldn’t.
And in the end, New Orleans lost for the eighth straight time, falling Saturday night 97-87 to Golden State, a team that had lost a night earlier to Oklahoma City.
Asked after about the mood of the team, Williams answered a different question entirely.
“The reality is that’s on me,” Williams said of the eight-game streak without a win. “Nobody is going to look at this team and look at skids like this and look at the players. Those guys are out there fighting their tails off. I’ve got to do a better job of knowing when to call a timeout or get the right rotation in.”
Anthony Davis, at least, can’t be blamed. Against the Warriors, he put up 31 points and tied a season-best with 17 rebounds. And Tyreke Evans, playing for the first time in four games because of a sprained left ankle, added 14 points and four rebounds off the bench. Al-Farouq Aminu totaled 12 points and nine rebounds.
The problem for New Orleans was nobody else could score, including Eric Gordon. The quarter went 3-for-17, including 0 of 6 from 3-point range a game after hitting six treys.
New Orleans (15-24) went just 23-for-53 in the paint as centers Greg Stiemsma, Jeff Withey and Alexis Ajinca went a combined 2 of 8.
“Thirty missed shots inside the paint,” Williams said. “That’s not typical of our team because we have some guys who do a decent job of finishing.”
New Orleans had no answer in the second half for Stephen Curry, who scored 15 points in the final 24 minutes on his to 28 points, or David Lee, who scored 10 of his 22 points in the third and fourth quarters.
“We made some adjustments at halftime and more than anything our effort just picked up all the way around,” Lee said. “... Our defense really responded and I it was just very important for us to get this win.”
The schedule slackens up a bit in the next five games; the next five opponents entered Saturday night a combined 36 games under .500.
“We’ve got to figure out what we’re doing wrong and what we can improve on and where,” Davis said.