Happy New Year, everyone!
The New Orleans Pelicans have experienced their fair share of ups and downs in 2018, so we’re ready for bigger and better things in 2019! And there’s no better place for the 17-21 Pelicans to start than against a foe who has allowed them significant success in the past.
New Orleans has taken three games straight from the Brooklyn Nets (17-21) and eight of the previous nine contests. But the Nets are no easy out, especially at home. They’ve won six of their past seven there, including impressive victories over the Lakers and Raptors. The Pelicans may be catching them at a preferable time though.
In addition to missing their most exciting young player in Caris LeVert, the Nets will suit up without Allen Crabbe (knee) and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (adductor). RHJ had been more than effective as of late, especially in the past eight games where he’s knocked down over 40% of his long range attempts in addition to double-digit scoring.
Head coach Kenny Atkinson will turn to Shabazz Napier and DeMarre Carroll in their absence. Napier impressed on Saturday against Milwaukee with 32 points and should see a large workload again. Carroll will likely assume the starting position in place of RHJ.
D’Angelo Russell will return to the starting lineup after sitting against Milwaukee. He (18 points), Spencer Dinwiddie (18 points), and Joe Harris (14 points on 50/48%) are the lynch pins that make the Nets offense go. Harris is the scary long range-threat that will test Elfrid Payton’s endurance throughout with his offball movement and quick trigger.
If you don’t recognize Rodions Kurucs, I can’t say I blame you. The 40th overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft is averaging nine points and five rebounds in 19 minutes per game, and started his first game on 12/14.
Jarrett Allen is the defensive presence down low, who may give Anthony Davis cause for concern. His athleticism and length have given Davis trouble before, though AD made sure to put him in his place in their previous matchup.
ANTHONY DAVIS POSTER ON JARRETT ALLEN pic.twitter.com/aWZmmSr2De— NBA Best Matchups (@NBABestMatchups) October 27, 2018
The Nets practice one of the more efficient styles of offense, getting much of their points in the paint (49), from deep (12.2 converted three-pointers, 4th in the NBA), and from the charity stripe (25 FTA per game, 4th). Those 105 points make up nearly all of the Nets 110.6 average scoring output.
The Nets are bottom ten in transition scoring, getting much of their success out of half court sets, and use tireless effort to make offenses beat them one-on-one. The Nets allow only 23 assists per game (6th), and 10 fastbreak points (2nd).
The Pelicans will have to play smart, and they will have to play hard. Lucky for them, they are closer to full-strength then they have been since the second week of the regular season.
In case you’ve forgotten, it was against these same Nets that Davis sprained his elbow which caused him to miss three of the following four games, and led to a six-game losing streak. It only seems appropriate that he and the team makes good on that uncomfortable memory with a positive and clean performance.
By all accounts, Anthony Davis should return from the stomach bug that kept him out of a 123-115 victory over the Timberwolves on Monday night as the Pelicans will need him to improve upon their dreadful 4-15 record on the road.
|Pace: 102.3 (6th)||Pace: 98.0 (23rd)|
|ORtg: 113.5 (3rd)||ORtg: 111.1 (13th)|
|DRtg: 112.7 (25th)||DRtg: 112.3 (21st)|
|PG - Elfrid Payton||PG - D'Angel Russell|
|SG - Jrue Holiday||SG - Joe Harris|
|SF - E'Twaun Moore||F - Rodions Kurucs|
|F - Julius Randle||PF - DeMarre Carroll|
|C - Anthony Davis||C - Jarrett Allen|
Pelicans: Anthony Davis (probable, illness), Nikola Mirotic (ankle, out)
Nets: Caris LeVert (out, foot) Allen Crabbe (out, knee) Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (out, adductor) and Dzanan Musa(out, shoulder), Treveon Graham (assigned to G-League, hamstring)
For more on this upcoming matchup, try catching up on the words of the enemy at Nets Daily.
Where To Watch
What: New Orleans Pelicans (17-21) at Brooklyn Nets (17-21)
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
When: Wednesday, January 2, 2018, 6:30 p.m. Central
How: FSNO, 99.5 FM WRNO
Let’s geaux, Pels!