Game On: Pelicans @ Rockets

So it comes down to this.  With just 3 games left the Pelicans remain neck and neck with the Oklahoma City Thunder as the season comes down to a photo finish for the two playoff-hopefuls; and right now, the Pels have their noses out in front.  The next hurdle comes in the form of a falling Rocket: with two losses in two days to San Antonio, Houston fell from a 2nd-3rd seed all the way to 6th, just a .5 game back from the Spurs, Clippers, and Grizzlies who are all tied for the 2nd seed.  The losses of Patrick Beverly and Donatas Motiejunas have not helped Houston’s push for homecourt, but no team led by James Harden and Dwight Howard can be taken lightly.  The Pelicans will have to play their best basketball as they can ill afford to drop any games now.

Coming off a 90-75 victory over the Phoenix Suns, New Orleans can see the light at the end of the tunnel of another injury riddled season, as they’ve won 6 of their last 8.  Ryan Anderson has returned from injury, and Friday the team saw the return of their starting pg Jrue Holiday, though he is still on very limited minutes.  Neither has gotten back into form yet, but at the very least, their returns have pumped some more energy and belief into the inexperienced team.  New Orleans has won 2 of the 3 matchups against Houston, but lost the last one 95-93 just a couple weeks ago.  Here are some keys to the game tonight:

  • 3’s and Free’s: It is no secret 3’s and FT’s are what Houston’s offense is built around (they rank 1st in the league in 3’s attempted per game by a good margin and 3rd in FT’s attempted per game).  In all three matchups this season New Orleans held Houston under their averages for both.  The only loss (95-93) the Pelicans shot 20 of 32 at the line. In fact, since that game, the Pels have shot just 67% at the line.  If they keep doing what they’ve been doing against these Rockets and make their own FT’s, they should come away with a W.
  • Ball Movement: This team wins when they rack up assists.  19.3 assists per game in losses, 24.4 in wins.  The return of Holiday (5 assists in 16 minutes in Friday’s win) should help with that, but the team cannot have any lapses and does not win when Tyreke, Gordon, Davis, or even Anderson tries to do too much.  This team can only make it to the playoffs as a team, not on the back of any one player.
  • Tyreke Evans only played in two of the three games this season, but in those two games he has shot the ball very well (10-15 in a win, 10-16 in a loss for 21 and 28 points), however he’s totaled 10 turnovers in those two games.  Guess which one he had less turnovers and less points in? The win.  This ties in to the previous key, but Evans does not need to try to do too much tonight for us to get a win, he just needs to stick in his distributor role and take care of the ball and the Pels will win.

Tip off tonight is for 6CT (OKC tips off against Indiana an hour before).  Flock Up and lets get that 8th spot! Go Pels


One response to “Game On: Pelicans @ Rockets”

  1. well westbrook just got a tech, and now they are trailing by 10, but i smell a westbrook comeback… pels gotta take control in the 2nd half to lock this playoff stuff up

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