Just a day after a crushing loss to the Magic, the Pelicans return home to face the Bobcats. Thankfully, Charlotte is also coming off a back-to-back. On the down side, Charlotte looked somewhat better yesterday than the Pelicans, knocking off a good Cleveland squad at home.
Looking at the matchups tonight, we have to start down low for the Pelicans. At center, the Bobcats will be trotting out Bismack Biyombo, with Cody Zeller also getting minutes in relief. Thankfully, that should be a much better matchup for Jason Smith, who won't have to deal with a more prolific scorer like Nikola Vucevic. Look instead, however, for the Pelicans to get a lot fewer second chances, since Biyombo and Zeller are both excellent defensive rebounders. That means that New Orleans is going to have to find some way to make their shots the first time.
Anthony Davis will be facing Josh McRoberts at power forward - there's not a whole lot to say other than that's a terrible matchup for the Bobcats. McRoberts is one of the worst starting power forwards in the league and should have serious problems stopping Davis and should allow Davis to roam defensively.
The Bobcats are a bit similar to the Pelicans - they have a lot of disparate parts around the perimeter that are all super-athletic but pretty inefficient on offense. However, Henderson, Walker, and Kidd-Gilchrist are a much inferior trio to Evans, Gordon, and Holiday. How is Monty going to handle the rotations - will he go small against the Bobcats' small lineup? With Kidd-Gilchrist not particularly offensively efficient, can the Pelicans leave Aminu's dribbling and shooting skills on the bench and play Evans more? And can Evans even make it worth it, given his terrible 0-6 performance last night?
As a team, the Pelicans have done one thing very well - rebounding. They have the best defensive rebounding rebound rate in the league and the sixth-highest offensive rebounding rate in the league. The reason they've been losing is field goal percentage - they're allowing the highest effective field goal percentage in the league and shooting the worst in the league. There's really nothing that's particularly complicated - the Pelicans have to have better defensive rotations and need to find a way to get the ball to open shooters (preferably not in the mid-range).
The Bobcats play a very tight rotation - only nine people played last night against the Cavs - so perhaps they'll be tired heading on the road, allowing New Orleans to penetrate more easily.