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Game Thread: Pelicans’ transition defense to be tested by Hornets’ strong fast-breaking capabilities

And don’t forget: Lonzo vs LaMelo!

New Orleans Pelicans v Miami Heat Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Pelicans will battle the Hornets in less than an hour’s time, and this matchup will present a good test for New Orleans.

Stan Van Gundy has emphasized defense in his inaugural season, but the team has taken a step backwards over the last few games. If they’re to return to the win column, the Pelicans will likely have to overcome certain weaknesses, yet the New Orleans head coach views it as an important challenge.

“They’re third in the league in steals, they’re seventh in forcing turnovers, they’re second in fast break points — that’s all areas that we’ve struggled in. I look at that as a good thing for us because these are areas where we’ve got to improve and we’ll get tested greatly.”

The biggest measuring stick for improvement will come in transition, where New Orleans allowed 27 fast break points a few days ago to a typically non-running Thunder team.

“Charlotte is second in the league in fast break points. They play really fast with outstanding perimeter players and a lot of shooting on the floor. So, our transition defense will absolutely be key tonight.”

For more on tonight’s Lonzo vs LaMelo Ball matchup, please give our preview a read.

Let’s geaux Pels!

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (4-4) vs Charlotte Hornets (3-5)

When: January 8, 6:30 p.m. Central

Where to watch: FSNO, ESPN

Where to listen: ESPN 100.3 FM

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.