Metairie, La. -- After six days off for the NBA All-Star break, the Pelicans were back to practice Wednesday-- well-rested and ready to roll.
"Obviously going to the destinations of your choice, it was awesome," said Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday. "I got to spend time with my family. I got to sleep and get away from basketball. It's always good to just unwind."
The Pels will have two days of practice to get back into the swing of things, before they return to game action Friday against the Heat, hoping to build-on where they left-off.
"We ended on a winning streak-- I think 3 games," Holiday said. "So that feels really good just to be able to come into this break or go out to the break with a win, and come into the break now with that energy and that motivation."
"We played with pace, played with unselfishness," said Pelicans guard Rajon Rondo. "We were able to continue to move the ball. I think we had a lot of high assist games and when guys are sharing the ball, it gives the entire team energy."
"I think our guys got it figured out the last two or three games," said Pelicans Head Coach Alvin Gentry. "We have to pick-up where we left-off from an energy standpoint, from a pace standpoint and make that the new normal."
Now comes the final sprint for the post-season, facing Western Conference opponents in 18 games in these final 7 weeks, with the Pels currently holding-down the 8th and final spot to make the playoffs.
"Obviously we're still in a dog fight for the playoffs," Gentry said. "But we've put ourselves in a position where the last couple of years we've been trying to dig ourselves out of a hole. I guess my message to the team is that we can still accomplish what we set-out to do."
The Pelicans haven't finished better than 7th place in the Western Conference, or made it past the first round of the playoffs, since the 2007-2008 season. They last made the playoffs in the 2014-2015 season, finishing 8th in the West.
"We are in control of our own destiny," Rondo said. "So every night we're going to go out and compete and focus on one game at a time."
"I think they understand where we are and the situation," Gentry said. "Over the course of the next 25 games, we may be out of the playoffs, we might be in 6th, we might be out. The whole thing is I think every night out, we've got to give ourselves and opportunity to win games."