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Game thread: With Hart traded, Pelicans move Hayes back into starting lineup against Rockets

Can New Orleans get the win despite the heavy atmosphere of losing several members of their family?

New Orleans Pelicans v Houston Rockets Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The New Orleans Pelicans will battle the Houston Rockets for a second time in three days, but don’t automatically pencil in the victory.

Although the Pelicans should remain superior to the Rockets without Josh Hart and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, don’t discount the emotions that are running through the New Orleans locker room with losing two key contributors who played important roles.

At the end of the day, we’re talking about human beings. Having family-like members suddenly removed from the equation can be mentally challenging, at least initially.

With Hart gone, Willie Green is electing to start Devonte’ Graham, Brandon Ingram, Herb Jones, Jaxson Hayes and Jonas Valanciunas.

For more on tonight’s matchup, please give our preview a read AND make sure you get better acquainted with today’s breaking news — CJ McCollum is coming to Nola!

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (21-32) vs Houston Rockets (15-38)

When: February 8, 2022, 7:00 p.m.

Where to watch: Bally Sports New Orleans, NBA League Pass

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.