The New Orleans Pelicans travel to Atlanta to face the Hawks on Tuesday evening at 6:30pm central time. The game is scheduled to be televised on NBAtv, or if preferred, follow the action live over the radio waves on 99.5 WRNO.
The game may be on national television, but it’s debatable if it should be — no Jrue Holiday, no Tyreke Evans and now no Anthony Davis. With the team’s three largest stars unavailable for the foreseeable future, the Pelicans could find themselves competitively out of the game against the Hawks as quickly as they did the Rockets. After the first quarter, the Pelicans trailed Houston by 17 points in Beijing, China, and the deficit ballooned to 25 at halftime.
In addition to the Pelicans Big 3 missing the contest, E’Twaun Moore is expected to be out due to a heel injury. Buddy Hield should draw the start following a recent comment that Tim Frazier brings out the best of the shooting guard by Alvin Gentry. During the preseason, Hield is averaging 12.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists, and the starting lineup could desperately need him to carry the offense. A lot will depend on whether Terrence Jones, who himself is questionable to play, will be available. If he sits yet again, Dante Cunningham should draw the start in Davis’ stead, and Hield might have to go all Oklahoma for the Pelicans to stay within striking distance.
Although the Hawks lost Al Horford in free agency and Jeff Teague via trade, two capable players replaced them in the lineup: Dwight Howard and Dennis Schroder. The duo are the 2nd and 3rd leading scorers for the Hawks during preseason play and figure to be main cogs throughout the regular season.
In fact, I picked the Hawks to finish fourth in the Eastern Conference race this season, finishing behind only the Cavaliers, Celtics and Raptors. Paul Millsap remains one of the league’s best players who fails to get appropriate praise on a nightly basis, and Kyle Korver is still one of it’s better sharpshooters. Certainly not least, Kent Bazemore is their team’s do-it-all wing; he is an enviable mix of athleticism, shooting and length.
Normally I would say a team of the Hawks caliber should pose a good challenge for the home team, but just days before the start of the regular season, the hope has already reverted to just praying for a competitive game. #ThanksInjuries