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NBA Preview: There’s a chance we see Herbert Jones attempting to slow Stephen Curry tonight

Brandon Ingram could also return to action for the Pelicans

New York Knicks v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

The New Orleans Pelicans, a team credited with only one victory thus far, will battle the Golden State Warriors, a squad flaunting just a single loss in the standings.

Could we be headed for a modern day David vs Goliath? The Warriors are favored by 9.5 points and they’ll be playing at home in front of their raucous crowd. The chances are indeed slim.

The New Orleans locker room still carries the mentality of scrapping and fighting in every game, but not surprisingly, it may soon start to take a toll. After all, they’re human.

“It’s human nature to get a little down,” Garrett Temple said after Wednesday’s loss to the Kings. “And if we weren’t competitive, if we didn’t care about winning and losing, we shouldn’t be in this league. But at the end of the day, understanding who we’re missing and, as you said, if we were losing games by 15 and 20 every night, it would be a different feeling. The fact that we’re in all of these games and there are correctable things that we can control, to have us maybe win some of those games, I think that’s the light at the end of the tunnel. Obviously, having two All-Stars coming back hopefully soon also gives us some hope, but we’ve got to string together a couple of wins to right the ship.”

Sacramento Kings v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Whatever the means, the Pelicans must find a way to crack the win column. Fortunately, there’s a chance that Brandon Ingram and Herbert Jones return to action. Although they both remain questionable on the latest injury report, they did go through this morning’s shoot around.

“It felt normal through shoot around,” Jones said this morning. “I’m going to go through some contact stuff later on to see how it feels.”

While the return of two starters would undoubtedly boost New Orleans’ chances of winning, I’m keen on watching Jones guard Stephen Curry.

Curry is sixth in the NBA in scoring at 26.7 points per game, adding 7.6 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.4 steals to his impressive line. Of course, he’s best known for knocking down 3-pointers and he’s leading the league at 4.9 makes per contest.

If Jones can go, he could put a dent in those numbers, but that’s a big ask. Curry is a 13-year veteran who is used to consistently being pursued by the best defenders in the game. Still, it would be great fun to see how Jones would fare on Steph.

While Steph is the best gunner around, the Warriors aren’t without other marksmen. Jordan Poole (16.4 points, 2.3 threes) and Damion Lee (14.3 points, 2.5 threes) are dependable, plus Andrew Wiggins (15.9 points, 2.0 threes) and Otto Porter Jr. (5.7 points, 1.0) can force defenses to stay with them on the perimeter.

The most underrated thing about this Warriors team, though, is their defense. Their defensive rating (97.1) ranks first in the league, buoyed by the third-best opponents field goal percentage (42.1%) and second-best opponents three-point percentage (30.2%).

Draymond Green stands front and center in slowing down the opposition. Per NBA.stats, players he guards shoot on average at a 32.4% clip against him. That’s fantastic.

Can the Pelicans top the Warriors Friday night? Well, the Lakers have registered two losses to the Thunder thus far this season — anything’s possible, right?

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (1-8) at Golden State Warriors (6-1)

When: November 5, 2021, 9:00 pm

Where to watch: Bally Sports New Orleans, ESPN, NBC Sports Bay Area

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.