NEW ORLEANS They aren't meshing, they aren't jelling, they aren't winning and time is running out.
Five games since the blockbuster trade, the much-ballyhooed pairing of DeMarcus "Boogie'' Cousins with Anthony Davis in New Orleans isn't getting the Pelicans any closer to the eighth and final playoff spot in the NBA's Western Conference.
Now trailing the eighth-seeded Denver Nuggets by 4 1/2 games going into Saturday night's slate of games, the likelihood of a happy ending to this season's short story of "Boogie and The Brow'' seems to be slipping away with 20 games remaining.
In fact, I'm beginning to wonder if the Pels (24-38) can fend off the only teams behind them in the 15-team conference standings -- Phoenix (20-42) and the LA Lakers (19-43).
After Friday night's 101-98 loss in overtime to the San Antonio Spurs at the Smoothie King Center, the Pels are now 1-4 with Cousins on the roster.
Now, here's the rest of the story.
The Pels are 0-4 with Boogie in the lineup, 1-0 without him.
Their lone win came in a 109-86 smackdown of Detroit while Cousins served a one-game suspension after picking up his league-high 18th technical of the season in an earlier loss at Oklahoma City. Against the Pistons, Alexis Ajinca, seeing more playing time than usual because of Cousins' absence, had 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.
It's not that Cousins isn't producing when in uniform. He's definitely pulling his weight. In four games, he's averaging a double-double —22.3 points, 15.3 boards (including a franchise 23 against San Antonio) — with 18 assists, 15 turnovers, 18 personal fouls and one technical.
"He's more than doing his part,'' Pels coach Alvin Gentry said.
So is Davis, who's splitting time at the 4 and 5 positions depending when Cousins is on the floor. In the five games since acquiring Cousins, AD has been phenomenal, averaging 33.6 points and 10.6 boards per game.
The problem has been with the supporting cast. This team lacks depth, specifically in the backcourt after dealing away guards Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway to Sacramento in the Cousins trade.
Veteran guard Jrue Holiday is trying to find his niche in the Pelican's new-look lineup. After struggling in the first three games, he has responded with 22 points against Detroit and 26 against San Antonio but he missed two mid-range jumpers coming down the stretch against the Spurs.
Losing point guard Jarrett Jack to a likely season-ending knee injury further depletes the roster.
The biggest winners in Friday's home loss were those folks who live in eastern New Orleans whose lives were uprooted by a destructive tornado Feb. 7.
They received $31,000 from Holiday, who pledged to donate $1,000 for each point and assist he made against the Spurs. He scored 26 points and dropped five dimes in a losing effort.
That random act of kindness won't show up in the boxscore, nor will it help the Pelicans make up any ground on those handful of teams ahead of them in the playoff chase.
But Holiday's generosity certainly can be chalked up in the win column.
Brian Allee-Walsh, a longtime Saints reporter based in New Orleans, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.