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Game 67: Pelicans vs. Raptors

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Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport
2013/2014 NBA Season

vs

27-39

37-29
March 19, 2014, 7:00 PM CDT
New Orleans, LA
FSNO, SNET
Projected Starters
Brian Roberts Kyle Lowry
Eric Gordon DeMar DeRozan
Tyreke Evans Terrence Ross
Anthony Davis Amir Johnson
Greg Stiemsma Jonas Valanciunas
Advanced Stats (2013/14)
92.2 (23) Pace 92.0 (24)
107.2 (12) ORtg 107.9 (10)
109.9 (27) DRtg 104.5 (8)

GAME PREVIEW

New Orleans will square off against the current 3rd seed in the East, Toronto. Though they play in the least-ern conference, the Raptors are a solid team, one that has solidly turned their fortunes around from seasons past. The departure of Rudy Gay has been their biggest key, as he didn't fit well into their scheme and took away opportunities from the rest of the roster.

Toronto boasts one of the best backcourts in the NBA, ranking third in efficiency differential (+8.4). Individually, DeRozan sits just below James Harden and Dwyane Wade in efficiency and Lowry fifth. However, they may be called upon to do more as Jonas Valanciunas might miss the game. Last night against Atlanta, he was forced to leave the game with a back injury and his status for tonight is listed as questionable.

3 Keys to Watch:

  • Dominate the Paint. If Valanciunas is forced to sit, the Pelicans, and specifically AD, could have a field day in the paint. Dwayne Casey will heavily rely on Johnson but would need to give significant minutes to Chuck Hayes, Tyler Hansbrough and/or Steve Novak. It would be huge if Davis is able to get Johnson into early foul trouble.
  • Run! The Raptors are playing on the 2nd night of a back-to-back and are coming off an overtime loss in Atlanta. Expect some tired legs, but they could be made more evident if New Orleans really looks to push the pace.
  • More Musical Chairs? In the last game, Ajinca didn't get off the bench. In the game before, it was Stiemsma. Will Monty change it up again? More importantly, will Jeff Withey see minutes in the same neighborhood as against Boston (29+)?

Geaux Pels!