Game On: New Orleans Pelicans at San Antonio Spurs

Published: March 29, 2014

The Spurs and Pelicans each come into this game with winning streaks; The Pels are at 5, while the Spurs streak is at 16. Yep, The San Antonio Spurs have not lost in the month of March, and have glided past the Thunder, Heat, and Pacers to the best record in the NBA. And while the Pelicans are probably playing their best basketball of the season, they are heading into San Antonio with a depleted team.

Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon are likely to miss tonight’s game, and Brian Roberts is questionable. Add that to the season ending injuries to Jason Smith, Ryan Anderson, and Jrue Holiday and the Pelicans ¬†will be missing 6 of their top 7 scorers. Wins over the Heat and Clippers in the last week have been surprising, but if the Pels were to knock off the Spurs tonight, it would border on unbelievable. To do it, they will have to do the following.

Keys to the Game

1. Be Patient

It sounds simple, but the Spurs bank on the fact that you won’t do your due diligence on every possession while they continue to do yours. The Spurs don’t try to turn you over; instead they just play smart defense, making their rotations while refusing to foul. Basically, the exact opposite of the Pelicans in the first half of the year. But their defense can be exposed if you continue to move the ball and take high percentage shots.

2. Keep Tony Parker out of the Paint

Again, another one that is easier said than done, but that is why this team has the best record in the league. Everyone knows that you have to keep Parker out, but it isn’t easy to do. The Pelicans did it for three quarters in their last meeting by switching a lot, but eventually they just cleared out for a Parker/Duncan pick and roll and tore the Pelicans apart. If they do that again, an extra defender has to come over and the Pelicans have to play a two-man zone on the weakside.

3. Match Them Three for Three

The Spurs are #1 in 3-pt percentage and the Pelicans are #8. The major difference, however, is that the Spurs take three’s on 26 percent of their FG attempts while the Pelicans three-point rate is just 19 percent (29th in the league). Tonight, the Pelicans have to go outside the game plan a bit to keep up with the high-powered Spurs. Live by the three, die by the three.

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