Game On: Pelicans @ Spurs

The Pelicans best win of the year was probably their defeat of San Antonio back at the end of November. Tonight they hope to repeat that outcome on the road, ending the Spurs undefeated streak at home.  The Spurs, for their part, have looked simply very good without Tim Duncan to anchor their backline defense. You know, as opposed to soul-crushingly dominant.

Tim will remain out tonight, but unless Pop decides some of his other guys could use some rest, that’s about all we can expect for injury news for the Spurs.  The Pelicans, of course, will be missing Gordon and Q-Pon – and continue to nurse that Tyreke Evans knee. (I continue to maintain it will go under the knife at any minute.  I have nothing to go on, it just has that feel to me.  He might even play tonight!  Who knows?)

The primary difference we can expect tonight over that game in November, however, is Ish Smith not being on the roster.  That was probably the best game of Ish’s career, as he continuously beat Parker and Mills into the paint and actually hit all those jumpers and floaters he usually misses(39% shooter this season)  That opened up Anderson on the perimeter for threes, and Ryan took advantage for 5 threes, and 2 instant Popovich timeouts.  Pop doesn’t like Anderson getting open for threes.

So, how do the Pelicans win tonight.

  • Jrue has to be on.  He struggled against Tony Allen’s physical defense and couldn’t finish in all the paint.  Well things aren’t going to get easier for him tonight.  Kawhi didn’t guard Ish because he couldn’t match Smith’s speed.  Jrue doesn’t have that – so he could very well become grist to Kawhi’s mill.  He’ll need to keep the dribbling simple and finish those floaters he struggles with so much – or this teams penetration is going to be limited.
  • Davis needs to solo-guard Aldridge.  I don’t give a damn if Aldridge is hitting his fade-away jumpers over Davis.  Davis can make him take those shots – spike enough of them – and that keeps the rest of the Spurs from getting touches and executing their deadly passing offense.  FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T DOUBLE ALDRIDGE.  If I see more than 2-3 doubles on Aldridge this game, which are there to make him think a little, I will spit.  Mentally, at least.  Because I like my carpet and that’s kinda gross.
  • Hit your threes.  It won’t be easy.  The Spurs, for the record, are the best defense in the league AND the 3rd best offense.  They allow a decent number of three point attempts – but teams just can’t hit them against their quick rotations.  Since the Spurs don’t foul and can generate good steals – you just have to hit your shots when they are available.

Enjoy the Game!

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