NEW ORLEANS -- Coach Willie Green tried to remain positive throughout the New Orleans Pelicans' infamous start to the 2021-22 season.
After a loss of 108 to 100 to Oklahoma City on Tuesday night, Green vented his frustration when the Pelicans lost to 1-11. This was their eighth consecutive defeat.
It's not the losing streak. It's not just one quarter. Green stated that it's the way we approach this game. "There were times in the game when we didn't have enough guys to compete hard enough for us. Our team worked hard enough. This is a no-negotiable. This is the deal. This is who we are. This is what I cannot have as the leader of this team. If they don't give 110 percent, I won't allow them to be on the floor."
Within three minutes of each other in the second quarter, Jonas Valanciunas and Devonte Graham were each given a technical foul for gesturing or arguing towards the officials.
Josh Hart was given two technical fouls after arguing in the second quarter with an official. Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
With 2:41 left, Josh Hart was fouled by the Thunder's Luguentz Dort.
Hart was looking for a rebound, when Dort flew off the wing to grab the board. Hart was hit by Dort, but Scott Foster called Hart foul. Foster was also called for the foul by Jenna Schroeder (another official). Foster and Schroeder had a brief conference.
Hart was visibly upset, and he picked up two technical fouls in order to be ejected.
Green stated that the guys believed they were fouled and didn't receive the call. We won't get those calls. They have not been earned. What are we complaining about? We won't get it unless we earn it. This is the deal. I spoke to our men about it. We need to maintain our composure. We have too little room for error to do what happened tonight.
"We need Josh. We need Jonas. Jaxson Hayes can't get technicals. To win, we need everyone to play and compete at a high level.
New Orleans was already shorthanded for the start of the game due to injuries to Zion Williamson's right foot fracture and Brandon Ingram's right hip contusion. Williamson is yet to play in this season's game, while Ingram has missed six consecutive games. Reserve Naji Marshall was out of action with a sore right leg before tip-off.
You can also add a few players to the G-League and New Orleans suddenly had 10 healthy bodies available to play the final 26.19.
Green stated that his plan was not to call out guys but to have them practice on Wednesday in an effort to get things moving again.
"Call them up. Tomorrow, they will be called up. Green stated, "Not out but up." "Up means "we're better then this." We are better than to go home and lay 21 on our own floors. Our approach must be more positive. My approach must be more positive. I have to get the team ready to play. Tonight was a failure.
With 4:05 left in the third quarter, the Pelicans led 68-67. But Oklahoma City ended the quarter with an 18-3 run. Then, the Pelicans extended their lead to 96–75 with 7:51 remaining in the fourth quarter.
New Orleans managed to make it a 2-possession game in just over 30 seconds, but couldn't get any closer.
Green stated, "At one point in the third period, when they stretched out the lead out to us, we put down our heads and said, ‘Enough is enough.’" After that, you could see us quickly get back in the game. We can't wait for the third quarter. It must be done for four quarters.