Game On: Golden State Warriors at New Orleans Pelicans

Published: January 18, 2014

How did we get here? Seriously, it seemed like just yesterday that we were waiting for the inevitable Phoenix collapse that would open up another playoff spot for the resurgent Pelicans to take. Guys were finally getting healthy and two fantastic showings against Portland gave fans a ray of hope for this season. The schedule was starting to soften, as a couple of home stretches lied ahead. Everything was starting to come together.

Then, Ryan Anderson goes down – possibly for the season. A few days later, Jrue Holiday is said to be out 1-2 months (and might also be shut down for the season). Tyreke’s ankle injury resurfaces, and all of a sudden, the Finishing Five has become the devastated duo. ¬†Even Jason Smith is now out indefinitely. Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis have been terrific, but there is too much weight on their shoulders, and as a result, the losses have been piling up.

The Pelicans have lost 7 straight, and 13 of their last 17. All of a sudden, fans are looking the other way – Can we keep our 2014, top-five protected pick? It would have been an insane question to ask a few weeks ago. Now? As of today, the Pelicans are just two and a half games away from a bottom three record. If the Pelicans want fans to stop rooting for something other than the “T” word, they have to start winning some games, especially tonight. With Golden State on the second night of a back to back, this would be a good place to start.

Keys to the Game

1. Crash the offensive boards

The Pelicans kept the last contest at New Orleans close by grabbing 14 offensive rebounds. It’s probably going to be harder tonight, because the Warriors will have Bogut and the Pelicans will be without their leading offensive rebounder from that game – Ryan Anderson.

2. Force Turnovers

Despite the fact that Golden State tends to turn the ball over quite a bit, the Pelicans have not been able to take advantage of their carelessness so far in the season series. Bottom line on the first two keys is that the Pelicans need to end the game with more possessions than Golden State today to have any chance to win this game.

3. Multiple X-Factors

For the Pelicans to have any chance, Gordon and Davis has to play well. It wouldn’t hurt if Tyreke came back tonight, either. But they will also need at least two role players to have standout games to beat Golden State. Based on the matchups, I could see Ajinca having a good game if he can hit his mid-range jumper. Bogut doesn’t like to come outside of the paint. And never underestimate the motivation a player gets from playing an ex-team. Could Anthony Morrow go off?

Thoughts on Today’s Trade

Nothing to see here. Long story short, the Pelicans got paid money to put Tyshawn Taylor on their roster and gave up nothing in return. Technically, they gave up a draft pick, but it will be one of those ‘top-55’ protected picks that isn’t real at all. They get “traded” all the time and mean nothing. The Nets will save nearly $2 million by sending Taylor to the Pelicans. If Taylor impresses the team, great. They can put a 1.15 million dollar qualifying offer on him next year. If he is terrible, they can cut him and still make out with some cash. Absolutely no downside. Probably no upside either. Again, nothing to see here.


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