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NBA Preview: New Orleans Pelicans with another golden opportunity, face star-less Warriors

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No Steph, Klay or Dray!

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans (24-32) continue their playoff push Sunday night on the road against the struggling Golden State Warriors (12-44). This will be the fourth and final meeting of the teams this season.

The Warriors currently have a 2-1 lead in the season series; however, those two victories came early in the season when the Pelicans were dealing with injuries and chemistry issues. Now fully healthy, New Orleans should be heavily favored against this wounded Warriors team.

Head coach Alvin Gentry will have to guard against a let down facing an inferior opponent, but the Pelicans are lucky to be catching the Warriors right now. Golden State is in the process of working in newly acquired forward Andrew Wiggins, who was acquired on February 6th in exchange for point guard D’Angelo Russell.

Additionally, Golden State will be without All-NBA point guard Stephen Curry as well as forward Klay Thompson. Thompson has been out all year, but Curry recently revealed that he is eyeing a March 1 return to the court. Pels fans should be happy they won’t have to face the former MVP again this season as his 26-point, 11-assist effort beat New Orleans in the fourth game of the season.

It might have been fun to see Pelicans rookie Zion Willamson compete against All-Defensive team forward Draymond Green, but unfortunately, Green is also on the wounded list after being ruled out for Sunday’s game with a pelvic contusion. The Warriors have accumulated a 2-12 record when Green has sat.

Marquese Chriss might join the long list of names on the sidelines as he’s currently labeled questionable to play.

It seems obvious that the Pels will have the serious upper hand in this game and Zion could be in for a huge day. Honestly, I don’t think 40 points is out of the question for Williamson with the Warriors relying on Kevon Looney and Eric Paschall. This is a game the Pelicans should win easily unless they play down to their competition; however, that hasn’t been the modus operandi for this team over the last month.

These games that you are “suppose to win” are critical for the Pelicans to keep their playoff hopes alive. Following Memphis’ most recent loss, the Pelicans now trail the Grizzlies by only four games with 26 regular season games remaining. That number could fall to three games at the close of Monday with the Grizzlies facing the L.A. Clippers tomorrow in a game the Clippers are favored. As exciting as that is, the Pels just need to hold up their part of the bargain and beat the teams they are suppose to beat.

Where To Watch/Listen

What: New Orleans Pelicans (24-32) at Golden State Warriors (12-44)

Where: Chase Center, San Francisco

When: Sunday, February 23, 2020, 7:30 PM

Watch: FOX Sports New Orleans, NBA TV

Listen: ESPN Radio 100.3 FM