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Game 44 and Preview: Pelicans at Cavaliers

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport
2013/2014 NBA Season

at

18-25

16-28
January 28, 2014, 6:00 PM CDT
Cleveland, OH
FSNO, FSOH
Projected Starters
Brian Roberts Kyrie Irving
Eric Gordon C.J. Miles
Al-Farouq Aminu Luol Deng
Anthony Davis Tristan Thompson
Alexis Ajinca Anderson Varejao
Advanced Stats (2013/14)
92.6 (23) Pace 93.1 (20)
107.8 (10) ORtg 101.5 (24)
109.8 (30) DRtg 106.8 (19)

GAME PREVIEW

The Pelicans play the Cavaliers for their second and final time tonight. Back on November 22, the Pelicans scratched out the win to even their record at 6-6. Remember, that was the game where Jrue Holiday told the team, "this is where we grow up."

For the month of January, the Cavaliers are 6-7 but most of those wins have been against the leagues worst: Jazz, 76ers, Bucks, Magic and Lakers. They currently sit 2 games back of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

This time around, the Pelicans will face Luol Deng minus Andrew Bynum. The advanced statistics are a huge fan of the move as Deng has brought much needed solidarity to the SF position. However, much of these gains could be mitigated if Varejao misses the game. Reportedly, Varejao is a questionable after an MRI confirmed a left knee contusion.

Keys to the game:

  • Contain Irving. He and their team is an entirely different animal if he's able to get into the paint at will and either score/get to the FT line or set up a lot of easy looks for teammates. Hopefully Monty doesn't hesitate to bring in Austin Rivers quickly into the game if Roberts is taken to the woodshed early.
  • Eat the Cavaliers bench. In their last 10 games, their reserves have been one of the least effective units while ours has been #1.
  • Eric Gordon, just a little consistency. Tonight, he'll face Miles and Dion Waiters, one of the weaker duos at shooting guard in the league. As you may have read in Rohan's Bird Feed today, Gordon is looking to do a little more -- let's see him start tonight.

Geaux Pels!