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NBA Preview: New Orleans Pelicans and Brooklyn Nets should provide plenty of offense, but defense will decide victor

Kyrie Irving vs Jrue Holiday should be fun!

New Orleans Pelicans v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The New Orleans Pelicans (1-5) will look to gather their first road win of the season Monday as they travel to Brooklyn in a face off with the Nets (2-4). NOLA will attempt to solve their late game woes after another close defeat Saturday at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

On the bright side, Derrick Favors, who has been nursing a right knee injury, could return to the lineup, and the team seemingly dodged a bullet with Brandon Ingram because he wasn’t listed on the injury report after leaving the OKC matchup with a head injury. Ingram is expected to play.

The Pelicans and Nets appear to be mirroring images of each other to start the season in certain respects. Both will look extremely different once healthy, and are transitioning rosters from a year ago that included high profile departures and arrivals.

On the basketball floor, things aren’t much different as New Orleans and Brooklyn have been fantastic offensively, ranking top ten in offensive rating and points per game. Defensively, they’re the complete opposite, but stay solid as a duo, ranking in the bottom ten in defensive rating and opponents points per game.

We should all expect an offensive shootout come tip-off, but if New Orleans wants to leave with a victory, they’ll need to take care of things on the other side of the basketball.

Here are a couple keys to victory for NOLA to capture their second victory of the season.

Attack Brooklyn inside and look to get their bigs in foul trouble

Indiana Pacers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Most teams that are bad defensively struggle with penetration, that’s no revelation. In fact, Brooklyn’s already ranked 22nd in opponents points per game according to But that’s not where the significance of this point of emphasis breathes.

The Pelicans have traveled through stretches where they’ve struggled rebounding. They’re currently 29th in defensive rebounding. The Nets inversely rank second in offensive rebounds, and sixth in defensive rebounds.

If the Pelicans are without Derrick Favors, they’ll need something special out of Nicolo Melli, Jahlil Okafor, and rookie Jaxson Hayes once again inside. Going up against DeAndre Jordan, and Jarrett Allen off the bench, Brooklyn should have the advantage on the boards. Even if Favors returns, NOLA should look for a different route to gain an advantage.

Consistent paint attacking and penetration could allow the Pels to get the Brooklyn Nets (their bigs specifically) in foul trouble. The Pels didn’t take care of their free throws in OKC, but if they can get to the stripe enough against the Nets, they may be able to control what should be a high paced matchup. They just can’t allow BK to get second and third looks in the process.

Don’t get into an iso contest

Brooklyn Nets v Detroit Pistons Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

When New Orleans is at their best — as they showed against Denver in their only win of the season, the ball moves. When they’re not, they take turns going one on one, becoming predictable and often running into tough/bad shot attempts, or turnovers.

The Nets arguably have the best iso player alive in basketball: Kyrie Irving. New Orleans may have guys who are capable in scoring one on one when needed, mainly Brandon Ingram and Jrue Holiday, but going shot for shot with Irving on the road is simply an avenue with little upside. The Pelicans are built around depth and are hard to contain when defenses are forced to think and move, especially at the pace they operate. If they allow the basketball to win more times than the player, their odds at succeeding are fairly strong, against anyone.

Where To Watch/Listen

What: New Orleans Pelicans (1-5) at Brooklyn Nets (2-4)

Where: Barclays Center

When: Monday, November 4, 2019. 6:30 PM CDT