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NBA Preview: Pelicans might be listed as favorites against undermanned Nets in an ordinary season, but 12-game losing streak looms large

Can New Orleans finally break into the win column??

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Brooklyn Nets Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Things can’t get much worse for a Pelicans team fresh off its franchise-worst 12th loss in a row.

There’s been no update on Zion Williamson since David Griffin said there hadn’t been any setbacks, and yet we’re still waiting for Zion to meet certain metrics that have extended beyond the original six-to-eight week timetable.

Derrick Favors returned for his second game against one of the league’s worst offenses on Saturday night, and yet the Pelicans still managed to give up 130 points (Orlando’s season-high). His workload increased from 15 minutes to 20 with little effect (two points, five rebounds).

And earlier today, we learned that JJ Redick, one of the Pelicans most consistent performers to date, is out against the Brooklyn Nets with left groin soreness.

The fans are baffled, the players have to be frustrated and the coaching staff can’t find a winning combination.

At 15 games below .500, the season has already slipped away at just over one quarter of a way through. And yet, no one outside of the first six seeds in the West are running away with the final two seeds.

NBA: Orlando Magic at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

At 6-21, the Pelicans are still hilariously sitting five wins outside of the seventh seed.

But let’s be real, they need to start adding to the win column and soon. There may not be a better opportunity than against the Brooklyn Nets.

The Nets have been a perfectly mediocre team in the NBA thus far this season. 10th in pace, 17th in offensive rating and 14th in defensive rating, they also carry the 17th SRS. They have faced the sixth-easiest schedule, though they did defeat the 20-8 Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night.

Brooklyn has faced the same or even worse injury luck than the Pelicans and yet they haven’t needed to complain nearly as much. They continue to play quality basketball. Despite the game taking place in New Orleans, it will take a concerted effort from the Pelicans for any chance at victory.

The Nets do their damage in the paint (fifth) and on the boards (second). They attempt more three-point shots than all but five teams in the NBA.

Defensively, they don’t allow ball movement (second) and they hold team’s to the ninth-best eFG in the NBA.

They will turn the ball over at an alarming rate (22nd) and are one of the worst at collecting their own from opponents (25th).

They can be beaten.

Spencer Dinwiddie is quietly putting together an All-Star caliber season with 23.3 points and eight assists per game over his last ten appearances.

Joe Harris continues to be one of the league’s deadliest shooters (41 percent), and Taurean Prince (13.1 and six rebounds) and Garrett Temple have made solid contributors (13.8).

While DeAndre Jordan has been a walking double-double (9.9 points, 10.6 rebounds), Jarrett Allen has been even better (14.6 points, 12 rebounds).

Wilson Chandler made his debut on Sunday night and collected seven rebounds following his 25-game suspension and could be a factor against the Pels off the bench.

The Nets have lost two of three against the Charlotte Hornets and Toronto Raptors, but have won four of their past six games.

Injury Report

JJ Redick will join Darius Miller and Zion Williamson on the bench with groin soreness.

Joining them on the injury report are the Nets’ Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Caris LeVert and Nicolas Claxton who are all out.

Geaux Pels!

Where To Watch/Listen

What: New Orleans Pelicans (6-21) v Brooklyn Nets (14-12)

Where: Smoothie King Center

When: Tuesday, December 17, 2019 7:00 PM CST

How: Fox Sports New Orleans, YES