New Orleans Pelicans @ San Antonio Spurs: New Year’s Eve Open Thread

Published: December 31, 2014

The New Orleans Pelicans (16-15) will play the San Antonio Spurs (19-14). The game will tip slightly early with the broadcast starting at 6 pm CST (UTC -6). The game can be found on Fox Sports New Orleans and the Pelicans radio network.

The Pelicans continue to be without Eric Gordon, though that could change starting next week, and John Salmons who is out for personal reasons. The Spurs expect Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard to miss tonight’s game. Some a speculating that Duncan may rest, as this is the second game in two nights, fifth in seven nights, and Duncan has been rested in one game of several back-to-backs this season, though not all. The Spurs are 2-3 in games Duncan misses with victories over the Knicks and the 76’ers, losses to the Mavericks, the Rockets, and the Trail Blazers. The Spurs are coming off a loss to the Grizzlies in Memphis last evening while the Pelicans defeated the Suns last night, 110-106 in a game where Anthony Davis played 42 minutes with no game-rest in the second half.

I am unapologetically copying this from the last pregame I did a week ago:

Tonight, the Pelicans need to match up against in the Spurs well in two areas: rebounding and turnovers. The Pelicans have got to win the battle on their offensive boards, but the Spurs will prove a tough match here. On the Spurs’ offensive end, the Pelicans need to perform well on the glass, but should have an easier task. Beyond that, the Spurs do not force many turnovers but a more lax with the ball when on offense. The Pelicans have got to force the Spurs into empty possessions, which is what these two stats have in common.

They have to do this because the Spurs are very efficient with the possessions that involve shooting. The Pelicans may be able to tamp down their shooting efficiency some, but they need to attack the useful possession count, too.

With the way the Spurs play and Popovich coaches, the back-to-back will likely not matter (just like it didn’t against Portland) in a meaningful way.

This is not out of lack of effort. The effort went in, and the analysis was spot on, so I’m riding that pony.


Spurs Statistics
Pelicans Statistics

Pelicans Record Analysis
Pelicans Scoop
Suns Post-Game
Anderson’s Struggles


  • How will Davis play after being somewhat limited in scoring last night but playing 42 minutes?
  • Patty Mills is back, but is still shaking off the rust (e.g. he is 0/8 on three-pointers . . . will he surge against the Pelicans’ perimeter?
  • Will Jimmer, again, see extended minutes and play well?

New Orleans Watch

Again, borrowed:

Pelicans fans will remember Marco Belinelli from his time with the New Orleans Hornets. He revived his career here, went to Chicago, and has carved out a home and a role with the Spurs.

Beyond this, the Spurs organization and Gregg Popovich have had tremendous influence on key Pelicans personnel, such as Dell Demps and Monty Williams.

NBA Watch

In addition to this game with playoff implications, the Phoenix Suns are playing tonight (so, their second in two nights) in Oklahoma City (who is rested) who are reported to have Durant back. A Pelicans win and a Suns loss will have the Pelicans in 8th in West, just a game behind the Spurs in 7th, with Phoenix in a near-tie and 1.5 games ahead of the Thunder.


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