New Orleans will face the formidable front court of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan on the back of DeMarcus Cousins season-ending left Achilles injury.
Not to make light of such circumstances, but let us not forget what Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday have brought to the table this season. Davis has played 431 minutes this season without DeMarcus Cousins on the court and has averaged 29.3 points, 13.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game in that time. Holiday has played 371 minutes without Cousins himself and has recorded an average of 28.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. With the report that the Pelicans plan to “acquire talent” prior to the February 8th trade deadline, there is very little that points to any self-pity or plan to fold. This team is all-in, and Cousins’ injury will not change that fact.
In the last meeting between these two teams in early November, the Pelicans took a 111-103 home win over Los Angeles. Though Holiday failed to find his rhythm, scoring only six points, Davis did provide 25 points and 10 rebounds on 60 percent shooting from the field. Something to watch – Cheick Diallo contributed a valuable 20-minute performance that night, scoring nine points, shooting 4-of-5 from the field and securing six rebounds. Should Diallo be called upon, a recreating of this outing would prove essential for the Pelicans with Cousins out.
In comparison to the previous meeting, New Orleans should be able to prevent guard Austin Rivers from finding his spots in his high-volume stretches and contain forward Blake Griffin. On the other hand, Lou Williams will probably prove a handful. Although he only tallied 14 points back in November, expect an entirely Sweet Lou this time around. During this month, he is averaging a cool 29.3 points per game and adding 3.5 threes and 6.4 assists to boot.
One player New Orleans did see last go around is European guard Milos Teodosic. Teodosic is not a high-caliber talent by any means, but can easily manipulate a defense and get his teammates the ball in the right spots.
New Orleans is currently in its best run of basketball, winning seven of its last eight game. However, the following stretch will prove far more important. With games against the Clippers, Kings, Timberwolves, Jazz, Pacers, 76ers, Nets, Pistons and Lakers all coming within around two weeks, the Pelicans have a chance to show they can still compete and win games with a roster that now shifts its main focus around Davis and Holiday.
Tip-off against the Clippers is set for 3 p.m. on January 28 at the Smoothie King Center. Catch all the action on either FSNO or WRNO 99.5 FM!