The New Orleans Pelicans remain without Zion Williamson and Darius Miller is probably out all season, but JJ Redick will fight through a left knee bruise and Lonzo Ball is going to give it a go against the Toronto Raptors despite dealing with an abductor strain. Also, Derrick Favors feels he’s inching closer to 100% after dealing with knee soreness since the Mavericks matchup.
Sense a general pattern emerging here?
The New Orleans Pelicans are a banged up group, but they understand the importance of needing to play through some injuries because that 1-6 record sits front and center like the monster from Will’s visions in Stranger Things.
As David Griffin recently stated to Todd Graffagnini on the Pelicans Weekly Show podcast, this New Orleans team could very easily be 4-3.
But they’re not.
Missing starters has made things challenging, not closing out games the right way — something I’ve been harping more strongly than the dismal defense — has really hurt, but it was nice to see the Executive Vice President of Basketball Ops not sugarcoat another key issue: the Pelicans haven’t been competing at a good level. This isn’t the same as bringing effort, which has really been present in every game outside of the loss to the Warriors, but rather individuals consistently playing with the requisite focus and concentration.
Remember how I detailed the Pelicans eight first quarter turnovers against the Nets in the last recap? Where Frank Jackson turned it over twice after two steals, Jrue Holiday flinging a couple of wild left-handed lay-ins and both Jahlil Okafor and Favors missing golden opportunities for easy scores underneath the rim?
Yeah, none of that please. New Orleans must avoid too many of those types of lapses if they want to emerge with a much-needed victory against the Raptors tonight.
Where To Watch/Listen
What: New Orleans Pelicans (1-6) vs Toronto Raptors (5-2)
Where: Smoothie King Center
When: Friday, November 8, 2019. 7:00 PM CDT