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Pelicans vs Hornets preview: Opponents must now deal with a potent Davis-Holiday combo

With Jrue Holiday back in action, things could be looking up for New Orleans.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Charlotte Hornets Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans (3-10) will host the Charlotte Hornets (8-3) on Saturday evening. The game will kick off at 6pm CST and can be seen on Fox Sports New Orleans or Fox Sports South East. Or, one can tune the radio to 99.5FM and listen to Sean Kelley describe all the action.

First off, please go circle last night on your calendars. Without Jrue Holiday, the Pelicans won just twice in twelve games and the offense ranked 27th in the league (97.6 ORtg). In his return game, the team thrashed the Portland Trail Blazers last night, posting a 114.4 ORtg — the highest mark of the season. New Orleans tied their season high for assists (31) and shot a season best 37.5% from three-point range.

Anthony Davis was so excited by Holiday’s return that he decided to watch his teammate’s post-game interview from afar. Little did he know that high praise from the usual starting point guard would drive him away blushing.

The Pelicans social media is spot on — bros. Davis is finally reunited with the team’s second-best player and oh it must feel so good!

If you remember in New Orleans final matchup against Charlotte last season, the Davis-Holiday duo combined for 78 points, 17 rebounds, 11 assists and 7 threes. They were simply unstoppable, but unfortunately so were the Hornets, scoring 122 points on the defense. With a revamped roster from over the summer that stressed defensive improvement, can the duo enjoy similar success but come out on the winning end this time around?

Things to watch:

Jrue Holiday. News flash: he’s good, as in star-quality good. There are very few players who can literally step into an NBA basketball game for the first time since last March and drop a 21-point, 7-assist effort in a mere 23 minutes! It certainly speaks volumes of the work put in by his trainers and coaches, but a lot of that production is just from sheer talent. That’s good because...

Kemba Walker. The Pelicans are going to need multiple defenders to slow down Kemba Walker. Charlotte’s point guard is 11th in the league in scoring and averages 3.2 three-point makes — second only to Stephen Curry. Walker has become especially effective in pick and rolls because now he can pull up and launch the three off the dribble. New Orleans will have to be careful to not sag too much or go under screens because he’ll make them pay.

Anthony Davis. It’s a given, he’s must-see tv. But here’s some food for thought: what if AD wasn’t troubled by the quad and back issues of late? Could his production be even more alien-like? Yeah, wrap your heads around that!