The New Orleans Pelicans (4-1) will be tipping off against the Denver Nuggets (4-1) in the next hour with at least one hand tied behind their backs.
With the late morning PR memo announcing that Anthony Davis, Elfrid Payton and Darius Miller are all slated to miss the game tonight, New Orleans will be without 42.7 points, 19.8 rebounds, 12.7 assists, their starting point guard who sets the pace, and, oh, the most disruptive defender in the league!
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In my best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice: “Major problemo;” however, one shouldn’t completely dismiss the idea that this year’s squad could turn in a surprise performance against these still growing Nuggets.
Unlike in previous seasons, this Pelicans team is a little deeper than what we’re accustomed to watching. Alvin Gentry will still have the services of the walking fireball known as Nikola Mirotic as well as Julius Randle, Jrue Holiday and E’Twaun Moore. And one gets the sense that Jahlil Okafor and Frank Jackson can ignite offensively because of their respective talent levels — and both should receive an opportunity to do so with the team so shorthanded, Tim Frazier may be tasked with pushing the pace and maybe Solomon Hill, Wesley Johnson or someone else can make a surprising contribution.
Also, Davis’ teammates had no time to prepare for his absence against the Jazz; however, they’ve likely had at least one practice without him and the coaches have had a chance to adapt the game plan since the Pelicans first loss of the year — No getting blindsided again.
Would I gamble on New Orleans escaping with a win? Obviously not, but there’s a chance the game can remain competitive until late. If so, then all it would take is a few good bounces over the last five minutes or so...
For more, please be sure to check out Zachary’s preview!
What: New Orleans Pelicans at Denver Nuggets
Where: Pepsi Center
When: Monday, October 29, 2018, 8:00 p.m. Central
How: Fox Sports New Orleans, ALT, 99.5 FM WRNO