The New Orleans Pelicans are looking to win the season series 2-0 vs the Toronto Raptors. The Pelicans didn’t have Anthony Davis or Jrue Holiday back on January 18th and won’t have neither plus Ryan Anderson. The Pelicans were able to pull off the shocking win against Toronto the first time around, highlighted by Alexis Ajinca scoring 22 points off the bench.
Not to be outdone, Tyreke Evans also scored a team high 26 points, and he added 5 rebounds and 5 assists to boot.
The Pelicans are coming into the game after dismantling the Heat in a 105-91 win in Miami, although they lost Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson to injury in the first half. Eric Gordon came up huge for the Pelicans that night with 24 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds on 6-11 from 3. Debutant Norris Cole had a solid debut with 12 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and played great defense.
The Toronto Raptors come into this game after being blown out by the Houston Rockets in Houston by 22 points. Lowry and DeRozan combined to shoot 6-27 in the Houston game and are going to look to bounce back vs the Pelicans. Especially after they went a disappointing 11-28 in the game up in Toronto. Regardless, the Raptors remain the 2nd seed in the East and are going to be the favorites going into Monday's matchup with the the Pelicans missing three of their best players.
3 Keys to Winnings:
- Dominate the Paint: Last time these teams met the Pelicans scored 62 of 95 points in the paint whilst the Raptors only scored 34 in the paint. A 28 point difference!
- Feed the Hot Hand: The depleted Pelicans are going to need someone to get hot if they want to have a chance at stealing the win. Gordon, who is 2nd in the league in 3pt%, has been on fire since returning from injury. Amid all the injuries, this team will look towards him and Tyreke to carry the offense. Whoever can get hot has to keep getting the ball, e.g Ajinca vs the Raptors earlier this season shot 10-13 from the field.
- Contest Perimeter shots: This team loves to shoot, the Raptors are 9th in 3 point attempts a game. With guys like Lowry, Lou Williams, Patrick Paterson and Greivis Vasquez, their team has been built to shoot so the Pels are going to have to close out well on all 3-point bombs.
What: Raptors at Pelicans
Where: Smoothie King Center
When: February 23rd, 9pm
How: Fox Sports New Orleans, League Pass