NBA Basketball

Raptors seeking chemistry as they visit Pelicans

The Toronto Raptors and the New Orleans Pelicans both dug themselves holes that were too deep to climb out of in their last games.

They'll both try to avoid a similar challenge when they meet Friday night in New Orleans.

The Raptors (46-19) are coming off a 107-95 home loss to Houston on Tuesday. They trailed by as many as 22 in the first half before going into halftime down by 18.

They came all the way back to take a two-point lead after three quarters, but they ran out of gas.

Toronto remains one of the tops seeds in the Eastern Conference, but it's still adjusting to recent acquisitions such as signing guard Jeremy Lin and trading for center Marc Gasol.

"So many different lineups, so many different faces -- trying to gel together is a big part of the reason why, but at this point, no excuses," Green told the Toronto Sun. "We still have to find ways to play better regardless of who is on the floor, we have to have to find ways to pick each other up."

The Raptors have lost two in a row as they embark on a three-game road trip.

"It's still a little rough out there, just trying to figure out everyone," forward Pascal Siakam told the Sun. "We have a lot of new players, so it's definitely a little different. But I think we're doing a great job, and the guys we have are very high IQ, Marc, Jeremy. Those two just understand the game, they've been playing for a while."

As for the Pelicans, they overcame a 19-point deficit to win at Denver on Saturday and came back from a 17-point deficit to win at Utah on Monday.

It marked just the second time in franchise history that they had overcome deficits of at least 17 points in consecutive victories.

But they couldn't do it a third time after falling behind the Jazz by 18 in the third quarter of a rematch Wednesday night in New Orleans.

"We've come back a lot, so we're confident that we can do it," Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday said. "We had a couple of spurts that got us back in it, but we made it kind of difficult."

The Jazz led by 11 at halftime and increased the margin to 18 on three occasions in the third quarter.

The Pelicans got within 80-76, but the Jazz increased the lead to 85-76 at the end of the third quarter and 102-85 with eight minutes left.

New Orleans closed within 104-98 with 4:20 left, but it went scoreless for more than three minutes as Utah increased the margin to double figures.

New Orleans had 17 turnovers and 17 assists. It was the third time this season and first time at home that the Pelicans had fewer than 20 assists. No Pelican had more than three assists, and point guard Elfrid Payton had six turnovers, while forward Julius Randle had five.

"We turned the ball over too much," New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said. "When we finish the game with less than 20 assists, then we haven't had very good ball movement. Any time we do that, I think we get ourselves in trouble. That was our biggest problem."

The team announced Thursday that Holiday was diagnosed with a lower abdominal strain that will keep him out for at least a week. The Pelicans have already been playing Anthony Davis on a lighter workload after the big man demanded a trade earlier this year.

--Field Level Media

Updated March 7, 2019

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