Game On: New Orleans Pelicans vs. Orlando Magic

Published: January 26, 2014

Tonight, the 17-25 New Orleans Pelicans take on the 12-32 Orlando Magic at home fresh off a hard-fought victory against Detroit. Without Jrue Holiday, Ryan Anderson, and Jason Smith, the narrative has changed some, and the Pelicans have had trouble beating just about anyone recently. However, the effort is there and this team is finally starting to find some continuity in its lineups after it lost 3 major contributors in the span of one week.

The Magic are in the midst of a rebuild and are not at full strength right now, as they are missing centerpiece Nikola Vucevic. The team is chock full of young prospects, including Vucevic, Victor Oladipo, Maurice Harkless, Tobias Harris, Andrew Nicholson, and Kyle O’ Quinn.

The Magic sport an average defense and a very bad offense. They rebound well on defense, but struggle to grab offensive rebounds. They don’t foul, nor are they particularly adept at drawing free throws.

Orlando is 3-18 on the road and should be an easy win, but the Pelicans have been anything but stellar since their rash of injuries, and no game can be taken for granted. Orlando is young, but does have talent, and Magic veterans Arron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson are very capable of scoring in bunches.

Keys to Game

  • Attack the rim– big surprise, right? I probably list this every preview. But the Magic are near the bottom of the league in blocking shots and that should be taken advantage of. As I mentioned earlier, the Magic don’t typically foul very often, so the Pelicans need to finish their opportunities.
  • Contain Afflalo- he is capable of going off on any given night, particularly if you let him get hot from deep. Help defenders should be able to cheat off of Tobias Harris and Oladipo some, as each has struggled with shooting this season. At all costs, Pelicans should avoid leaving Afflalo and Nelson open.
  • Go under Oladipo Screens– I might scream if I see a Pelican go over an Oladipo screen, because he is way too fast and has struggled far too much with consistency on his jumper to justify honoring a pull-up jumper. Make him beat you from outside.

I’m guessing the Pelicans bigs will be hedging on Nelson pick and rolls to prevent him from pulling up, as Roberts is far too small and bad at fighting through screens to recover to Nelson quickly enough.

Afflalo can post up smaller guards, and if Gordon is going to be matched up on him, he’s going to need to find a way to push him as far as he can from the basket; as I mentioned earlier, some help will likely be needed here.

This is a game that the Pelicans should win, but the Magic throttled us earlier this year.. no game can be taken for granted right now.


  1. jmald1

    January 26, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    our starting lineup should b rivers, gordon, aminu, davis , and jeff whitey to  have da best offensive output nd defensive output.  whitey is our best center period nd by far someone dat  dnt foul often is a huge plus. i got rivers over robert  because he is dark hole on offense to me yes i would put him as shooting guard but not point. morrow  nd miller should play more together its more effiecent nd more spacing. davis nd whitey on da court together is beautiful to watch it really look like da twin towers on defense i really love dis for da future. i feel more nd more i watch whitey dat jason smith is look more nd more likely to b gone soon which hurts me lol

  2. RafaBrazil

    January 26, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    jmald1 wow, it took me some effort to understand what you said… but I agree with what I got from your comment.  Withey and Rivers should be getting the lion share of the minutes, and Morrow and Miller could work together in the second unit spacing the floor. 

    I’m not a fan of tanking, no matter what. Hoping for a big win!

  3. jmald1

    January 26, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    RafaBrazil jmald1  ok  i just thinking on here but  i do feel rivers should b starting to b honest nd roberts should b finishing. one more point i wanted to always say greg Stiemsma should even be near a basketball court let alone a basketball team im sorry i know dis is his career i can really say i can play better den dat man nd im sorry to say dat lol if it wasnt for anthony bennett i would say he is da worst player in da nba dat sadden me. i wanted to clear up i love jason smith nd i feel he is good one best bigs in da lg coming off da bench beside collison nd spitter. i feel we need to consider bringing in a young point guard to b a bench warmer. i do feel like we do have da lowest basketball iq in da lg dats killing us. we do not need anymore young players we need a veteran at sf just saying . im just venting dude

  4. NOEngineer

    January 26, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Davis had an awesome night, especially since his outside shot is still not falling.  He made up for a very average night by both Withey and Ajinca.  Game ball to Monty for leaving Stiemsma on the bench all night.   Thanks! 

    Evans was incredible.  Despite a couple of missed layups and a bad pass or two, he carried the entire team in the 2nd half.   Worth every penny if he can get and stay healthy.
    Gordon had a better night.  He had an awesome stop and steal on Afflalo, a couple of other good defensive sequences, and his offense was more crisp.  Still got no respect from the refs.  Glad to see the improved effort.
    I was also impressed how the team fought through a horrible stretch of officiating in the 3rd.  The offensive foul on Davis while getting hit in the neck without moving was a classic.  Several other very questionable calls contributed to the 4-point deficit in that quarter, but the guys stayed strong to keep the lead.
    The coaches need to vote Davis (Anthony, not Big Baby) into the All-Star game.   Nobody combines blocks, points, rebounds, and steals like he does.   The home crowd wants to see him recognized this year.

  5. NOEngineer

    January 26, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    jmald1Da lack of da grammar is super annoying.  Try full English, please.

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