After a loss to the Orlando Magic on Monday night that dropped the Pelicans to 10-21, the All-Star forward took part of the blame in what he believes is the team easing off the gas pedal against opponents.
"We just don't play hard all the time," Davis told reporters, according to The Times-Picayune of New Orleans. "That starts with our first unit coming out and setting the pace and setting the tone for the rest of the game and setting the tone for the guys that sub in especially after halftime. That's kind of been our thing this year. It starts with the first unit, and it starts with me."
The Magic opened the game with a 9-0 run, then used a 15-6 spurt to start the second half and a 12-4 run to begin the fourth quarter to take an 87-69 lead in an eventual 104-89 victory.
The start of the second half was a particular sore spot for New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry, who benched Davis along with the rest of the first unit.
"The first group wasn't going to play, and if you're not going to play, then we've got to have other guys in the game," Gentry said. "If you're not going to compete at the level that we need to, then we have to make changes and put other people in. So, we tried that.
"I thought [the second unit] did a good job, and then we had a couple breakdowns. I think we got it back to six, and then we had a couple of breakdowns. But we've just got to decide what we're going to be as a team. Are we going to be a team that gives in or are we going to be a team that competes like crazy, and have teams beat us and not have us beat ourselves? So that's really where we are."
Gentry also said his team needs to be tougher.
"They were physical with us, and we didn't handle it," he said. "That's our reputation, and until we do something about it, that is what teams are going to do, they're going to get into us.''
Davis admitted frustration, but not specifically with Gentry's decision to sit his starters.
"It was frustration with the game," he said. "We're coming out the third quarter and we're not playing hard. They are doing everything they want and we're turning the ball over. We were down four then we were down 10. It was just frustration with us not playing hard, including myself."
Things didn't get any better for Davis when he re-entered the game later in the third quarter. He went down after a midair collision with Magic guard Victor Oladipo. Davis was defending the rim when Oladipo blew past his defender at the 3-point line and soared unimpeded at Davis, sending the power forward crumpling to the ground. Davis left the court and went into the locker room before returning with just under eight minutes left in the game. He didn't score again.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.