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NBA Preview: Derrick Favors to make scrimmage debut in Pelicans-Nuggets matchup

The second tune-up takes place tonight

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

With Zion Williamson returning to the Orlando campus last night likely to dominate conversations awhile longer, don’t forget about tuning into a specific basketball game tonight.

The New Orleans Pelicans will play in their second of three scrimmages later today and tip-off against the Denver Nuggets is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Central. The viewing options appear to be NBA League Pass, the Pelicans app or hitting the following link: Pelicans.com/live.

The Pelicans mauled the Brooklyn Nets a few days ago by a final score of 99-68, but tonight’s matchup against the Nuggets figures to provide stiffer — and significantly longer — competition.

In case you missed it, here’s the starting lineup Mike Malone was forced to roll out in their opening scrimmage matchup against the Washington Wizards.

We shouldn’t expect to see that same starting lineup again featuring Nikola Jokic at point guard, but it will be curious to see how many guards will be available for the Nuggets. According to Chris Dempsey of Altitude Sports, Malone watched Gary Harris, Torrey Craig, Jamal Murray and Will Barton all practice yesterday.

Prior to the coronavirus shutdown, the Pelicans and Nuggets met three times during the regular season, with New Orleans winning twice. Jahlil Okafor posted one of his best games of the season in leading the Pels to their first win of the season last October and then Brandon Ingram poured in 31 points to snare a good Christmas Day victory.

While Zion is out for quarantine reasons, it will be curious to see which other Pelicans may be given the night off by the coaching staff. Derrick Favors missed the scrimmage opener against the Nets due to rest, but he’ll be in the lineup tonight. He stated in this morning’s shootaround that he’s excited about the opportunity of logging some minutes.

From a broad perspective, expect for Alvin Gentry to prioritize his continuing experimentation with lineups as he tries to settle on a regular rotation in advance of Thursday.

On a more micro level, it’s worth watching how Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Frank Jackson and several of the other young guys fare after mixed performances against the Nets. They all had good moments, but those seeking to earn regular minutes in the Pelicans upcoming eight seeding games will need to display a little more consistency.

Geaux Pels!

For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @OlehKosel.

Where To Watch/Listen

What: New Orleans Pelicans (1-0) vs Denver Nuggets (1-0)

Where: The Arena, Disney World, Florida

When: Wednesday, July 25, 2020, 7:30 PM

Watch: Pelicans.com, Pelicans app, NBA League Pass

Listen: ESPN Radio 100.3 FM