Game On: Pelicans in Cleveland

The New Orleans Pelicans take flight to the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio to take on the East-leading Cavaliers in their 50th game of the season tonight at 6:30 CT. The Pels have now lost 3 in a row and are coming off a morale-sapping 99-96 defeat against the Los Angeles Lakers, their second loss to LA this season. It appeared things were taking a slight turn for the better, as the Pelicans actually put in a very decent January: 8 wins and 6 loss, a 106.9 Ortg and a 103.2 Drtg, and the 9th best net-rating in the league. But the most recent loss has made those days seem as if they had never existed.

The Cavaliers, meanwhile, have lost two in a row, dropping them to just 35-14… This is the second of a 5-game home-stand for the Cavs, so they’ll really be looking to right the ship after starting it with a last second loss to Boston in the first. New Orleans won the first matchup and could become the first team that isn’t the Golden State Warriors to beat Lebron James twice this season, even San Antonio failed in their second meeting. But, in his last 3 against the Pels, King James is averaging 36.7pts, 7.7rebs, and 7.3asts.

Lets be honest here, starting lineups with wings Norris Cole, Bryce Dejean-Jones, and Dante Cunningham going up against Kyrie Irving, J.R. Smith, and Lebron James, on the road, this is a tough game to go into off the back of a 3-game losing streak, especially a 3-game losing streak right after you thought you finally turned in the right direction. This is going to be a telling game for the Pels. There has been a lot of talk about who should stay, who should go, and who should we build around, but this team, meaning the players themselves with the coaching staff, need something to build off as well. As long as they still fight to get better then there is always something to be gained.

Some things to watch for:

  • BDJ – How can you not love this guy? 2nd 10-day contract, played 43! minutes against the Lakers, and not just because he was effective (17pts on 10 shots and 9rebs), but because he really gave damn. He was a large reason the Pelicans even had a chance at the end of the game. Maybe he’s a keeper?
  • Jrue Holiday – Pelican fans if you didn’t know, this is the first February Holiday has made it to as a Pelican. He has looked better, and better, then had a 1-14 shooting night against Memphis, but then has looked better and better again. Making it through the season healthy and playing back to the level he was before all this stress-fracture mess would be huge for him and for this team going forward. The guy is silky smooth when he’s on.
  • Personally, I don’t care if we win or lose at this point, but if we are gonna lose, I want to see us lose like we did to the Spurs. The Pelicans went toe to toe with the best team in the league until they couldn’t, until it was clear that they, as a team, just didn’t have enough in the end. But no one could question their effort or whether they had played well.

Flock Up Pels fans, there is still a lot of the season left.

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