Game On: Pelicans Host The Brooklyn Nets

Published: January 30, 2016

A win today against the Brooklyn Nets would be the 6th win for New Orleans in the 8 games since a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers just over 2 weeks ago, a loss that had dropped the Pels to 2nd worst in the West. A win would move the Pelicans within 3.5 games of the 8th seed in the West. A win would put the Pelicans back exactly where they were when they started the season 1-11. Yes tonight, the Pelicans can officially say they have played .500 basketball since that horrid start.

On this momentous night in the Pelicans season the Brooklyn Nets have found themselves in NBA Hell with no picks and a bottom 5 record, and are only getting worse as the season goes on. They have only won 2 of their last 9 games and just 3 in January. The Pelicans are meanwhile in Limbo. When things seem to take a turn for the better, the injury bug takes out the starting lineup. Tyreke Evans is listed as a probable starter for tonight, Anthony Davis is not (UPDATE: DAVIS will go, no restrictions), and Eric Gordon remains sidelined with a broken finger. Even with those 3 out, the Pelicans managed to take care of a crucial game in the race for 8th, and rather easily. NO beat Sacramento on Thursday 114-105. Those one hundred and teen numbers have been popping a lot lately for the Pelicans’ offense (last 5 games): 114, 111, 116, 115, 114.

While the Pelicans’ defense has improved over last month, the Nets’ has gotten worse (January Drtg: Pelicans 102.7, Nets 107.7), so the Pelicans should be able to continue their hot scoring. The Nets also happen to have one of the worst offenses in league, making the Pels’ job on defense a little easier than normal too, but no team over 10 games below .500 should take their opponent likely. The team has to continue to bring the effort, especially with so much talent possibly on the bench.

But lets look at the keys for tonight’s matchup:

  • Brook Lopez, the Nets only player. Look for another strong outing from Omer Asik, who is coming off a great performance against Sacramento and Marcus Cousins. Asik held Cousins to an inefficient 26pts on 24 shots, and he put up 8pts and 13rbs himself. If he can bother Lopez like he did Cousins all night the Pelicans have a very good chance to shut down the Nets’ offense
  • Stick With What Works. The Pelicans have been moving the ball extremely well on offense and their shots have really been falling of late. The ball movement can’t go away, it will to the detriment of the team. The Pels are averaging almost 4 more assists in wins than in losses. This 9 game stretch they are averaging 24.8/game, I’d like to see them hit close to that number again.
  • Don’t Drop the Energy Level. We’ve heard Alvin Gentry say it so many times. We have to bring the energy that is required to compete and win. It is that simple, especially on the defensive end. When the Pelicans are focused and engaged on that end the resemble a good defense, but it has to be consistent on a nightly basis.

Tip off is for 6 CT, Tune in and Flock UP!

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