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NBA Preview: Lock down all secret tunnels, James Harden, Chris Paul and Houston Rockets coming to town

Can the Pelicans ride recent success to a big win on Friday night?

New Orleans Pelicans v Houston Rockets Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images

New Orleans is currently on its best run of the season, winning six of the last seven, and will be presented another challenge Friday night as the Houston Rockets come into town.

Yes, poking fun at the “secret tunnel” incident will bring a laugh, but this Rocket team is no joke. The last time these two teams faced, New Orleans took a 7-point loss despite one of its best shooting nights of the season to date.

Even in the absence of Anthony Davis, the Pelicans displayed unconscious shooting from the outside with 18 made threes on 54.5 percent shooting. New Orleans also received a 36-point outburst from E’Twaun Moore and 37 points from Jrue Holiday in the loss.

We all know you can only attempt to contain Houston’s backcourt of Chris Paul and James Harden, but based off the last matchup there needs to be other areas of emphasis as well — specifically pointing to Eric Gordon and Clint Capela scoring 27 and 28 points respectively. Davis being in the lineup this time around should handle Capela, but there has to be a better effort in the second unit to slow the former Pelican and last season’s Sixth Man of the Year.

Looking at the month of January as a whole, the Pelicans have been through the gauntlet. Just over the last two weeks New Orleans has seen four overtime periods. To the point, Jrue Holiday has been a main proponent in those instances resulting in wins. Per the Pelicans PR department, Holiday has been in nine games this month featuring Clutch Time and New Orleans hold a 7-2 record during that stretch. In those clutch time scenarios, Holiday is shooting 62.5 percent from the field and averaging 4.7 points – the fifth highest CT average in the month of January.

Houston is 19-0 with the trio of Chris Paul, James Harden and Clint Capela on the court together. Can the New Orleans Pelicans end that streak?

Geaux Pels!

What: New Orleans Pelicans vs Houston Rockets

Where: Smoothie King Center

When: January 26, 2018, 7:00 p.m. Central

How: ESPN, WRNO 99.5 FM