The New Orleans Pelicans rolled to four straight easy victories in their return from the All-Star break.
Then they let a game slip through their fingers in Denver on Sunday before being dominated in a 132-111 loss at Memphis on Tuesday.
The Pelicans will try to get back on track when they host the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.
“They just manhandled us,” New Orleans coach Willie Green said of the Grizzlies. “From the start, they took it to us and we never really got back into it. We have to have more resistance than we had tonight.”
Pelicans leading scorer Brandon Ingram was sidelined by a sore right hamstring Tuesday night, and his status for Wednesday was uncertain.
In his absence, CJ McCollum scored 32 points and dished out 11 assists in 31 minutes, but New Orleans couldn’t keep up with the Grizzlies. Memphis, which never trailed, scored a season-high 44 points in the first quarter, 77 in the first half and coasted.
The Pelicans allowed an average of 95.5 points during the four-game winning streak. However, they allowed 124 through regulation in their 138-130 overtime loss to the Nuggets before the debacle in Memphis.
“Defensively, teams have to know that you’re out there,” New Orleans guard Devonte’ Graham said. “Coach kept telling us, (the Grizzlies) didn’t feel us.”
Even with postgame travel and the quick turnaround, Green was confident the Pelicans would find time to review Tuesday’s game before moving on to the Orlando matchup.
“We’re not flushing it,” Green said. “We can’t flush that.”
The Magic are also trying to salvage a split of back-to-back games, but their latest loss went to the wire. The visiting Phoenix Suns held on for a 102-99 victory when Mikal Bridges blocked Franz Wagner’s 3-point attempt that could have tied the score in the final seconds.
Orlando, the team with the worst record in the NBA, fought back from a 15-point deficit against the team with the best record before falling short.
“The beauty of the league is we’ve got 82 of these things,” said Magic forward Wendell Carter Jr., who scored a team-high 20 points and added 12 rebounds. “We learn from this, but at the same time…