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Game On: Boston Celtics at New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans are looking to get back in the win column after losing two heartbreakers at home to Portland and Memphis. The Celtics could be the cure for what ails them, as Boston is just 8-23 on the road this year. For the Pelicans to end their two-game skid, they will have to do the following:
Keys to the Game
1. Control the Defensive Glass
The Celtics have trouble scoring, as they are 29th in the league in eFG%. They can’t hit three’s (24th in makes, 28th in %) and can’t make two’s either (26th in %). Oh, and they don’t get to the line much either. So, how do they score enough to win a game here and there? By giving themselves additional opportunities. They are 12th in the NBA in offensive rebound rate, with Sullinger, Bass, Humphries, and Olynyk all crashing the glass when they are in. Deny those guys additional opportunities and they will have trouble scoring 90 points, even against this defense.
2. Create Turnovers and Push the Pace
The Celtics assist to turnover ratio plummets in their losses and their opponents fast break points skyrocket. The Pelicans need to create easy opportunities for themselves by getting Tyreke into transition, looking for Anthony Davis at the rim or Gordon behind the three-point line.
3. Get Something From the Bench
Whether Tyreke starts or comes off the bench, he will get starter minutes, so I consider him a starter. Lately, we have seen Tyreke and AD show up every night, and Gordon gives them something more often than not. But guys like Rivers, Morrow, and Aminu play big one night and disappear the next. We are used to not getting anything from the three-headed center monster (except fouls), but that is okay. If Rivers, Morrow, and Aminu don’t give you anything, though, the Pelicans will suffer through huge stretches of ineptitude in the second and fourth quarters. At least one, if not two of those guys will have to score in the double digits to walk out of this one with a win tonight.