The New Orleans Pelicans (0-2) face the San Antonio Spurs (2-0) tonight inside the AT&T center. The game will be available on two channels, Fox Sports New Orleans and NBAtv, with tip-off set for 7:00pm CST.
New Orleans lost to the Golden State Warriors, 122-114, on Friday evening in a much closer than anticipated battle. For a second game in a row, we have Anthony Davis to thank for that because he went ham: 45 points, 17 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. In 40 minutes of play and a usage percentage of 36.1%, he committed just a single turnover.
Just how special has Davis been? His scoring exploits through the first two games on the schedule have only been matched in recent history by none other than the greatest player of all time, Michael Jordan.
Anthony Davis and Michael Jordan are the only 2 players in the last 50 years to score 90 Pts in the first 2 games of a season. pic.twitter.com/eKnHOSnexZ— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 29, 2016
Nice company, but like Davis to start this season, Jordan received little help throughout that historic 1986-87 campaign. Eventually Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans are scheduled to return, but the Pelicans need to figure out something in the meantime. Tim Frazier has done more than anyone could have expected (18.0 PPG, 10.5 AST), but the rest of the starters have been no shows on the offensive end and the glass.
- Solomon Hill: 2.5 PPG, 1.0 REB, 1.0 3PM
- E’Twaun Moore: 7.0 PPG, 2.0 REB, 0.0 3PM
- Omer Asik: 2.0 PPG, 2.0 REB, 0.0 3PM
This trio has not been alone in their struggles because many reserves have failed to be any better. The bright lights of NBA regular season games seem to have so far blinded Buddy Hield and zapped him of all confidence. Poor Langston Galloway couldn’t be any colder with his shot. (You should have seen the discouragement on his face Friday when a made three-point shot was waved off due to an offensive foul call away from the ball.)
The lone bright spot: Lance Stephenson. Yep, the guy who didn’t even have his contract guaranteed until this past Monday. Can you imagine if the front office had decided to keep Alonzo Gee over him instead? #shudder
Anyways, let’s talk a bit about the Spurs. Many predicted for them to slip some in the Western Conference upon the retirement of Tim Duncan. Thus far it hasn’t happened yet because Kawhi Leonard has also decided to throw his hat into the MVP ring. Through two games, he is averaging 32.5 PPG, 4.0 REB, 4.0 AST and 5.0 STL. Oh yeah, the best two-way wing in the league is yet to miss a free throw, converting all 22 of his tries.
In support, LaMarcus Aldridge has served as a solid secondary star (21.0 PPG, 9.5 REB), but I’ve been particularly impressed with their role players. David Lee, Manu Ginobili and Patty Mills have all been productive, but Jonathon Simmons deserves the most billing. The former D-League star, who had to pay for the right to tryout, has issued a few sensational highlights including this gem.
Outside of Pau Gasol replacing Duncan in the starting lineup, the Spurs have encountered few problems so the Pelicans are going to have to come up with something special to notch their first victory of the season. Fortunately, several constants have emerged: Anthony Davis and Tim Frazier. If a few of their teammates decide to finally break out of their cocoons (come on regression to the mean!) and the Pelicans effort and grit travels well to San Antonio, the Pelicans could make things interesting again in the waning moments of a game.
Maybe this time they can even pull off the improbable win?