He called out his teammates before the game against the Memphis Grizzlies and it seemed to work, as the Pels played with a renewed sense of urgency, led by the play of Zion Williamson and Josh Hart himself.
Hart had this to say before the game, according to Jim Eichenhofer:
This wasn’t directed at anyone specific, but it didn’t need to be, as just about everyone on the New Orleans Pelicans has played with little heart or urgency of late.
But these weren’t just words, Josh Hart went out and backed them up on the court with one of the best games of his career.
New Orleans Pelicans: Josh Hart’s big night was the key against Memphis
The thing about calling out your teammates is that you are putting yourself on a limb. If the team doesn’t respond, or you play poorly, these become just inflammatory words that could divide a locker room.
But if you go out and back them up, it can be the thing that turns the season around.
Josh Hart is hoping for the latter, as he went out and put up 27 points, nine rebounds and two assists on 6-of-11 from behind the arc.
Hart led the Pelicans in minutes and was an insane +30 in the +/- column, tied with Lonzo Ball for highest on the team.
Hart’s defense and rebounding have never been a problem for the New Orleans Pelicans, but he has been up and down shooting the ball, so it was nice to see him have a big night, especially after having some tough words for his team.
Hart is now up to 36 percent from 3-point range for the season and the Pels need to see a whole lot more nights like this if they want to turn this season around.
The New Orleans Pelicans are 5-3 when Hart scores 12 points or more, so they need him to continue to be the number one scoring option off the bench, especially with J.J. Redick struggling mightily.
Only time will tell if Josh Hart’s words and play will be the thing to get the Pels going, but it was nice to see someone on this team show some fire and leadership.