Fresh off being at the mercy of Kevin Durant, the Golden State Warriors will try to bounce back from a tough loss by taking on the struggling New Orleans Pelicans. Although this will be a back-to-back game for the Warriors, they are catching the Pelicans at the right time. New Orleans are currently on a seven-game losing streak, the highest in the Western Conference. Tyreke Evans could potentially return to their lineup, but the team is still short-handed with Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday sidelined for an extended period of time.
Keys to the game/Players to watch
Off Eff: Warriors: 103.9 (12th) Pelicans: 105.4 (8th)
Def Eff: Warriors 99.7 (6th) Pelicans: 107.2 (29th)
The Pelicans’ defense has been a hot mess this season. Sure, Anthony Davis is one of the most feared rim protectors in the league, but the Pelicans just don’t play with a lot of effort on that end of the floor. They allow 107.2 points per 100 possessions, second-worst in the NBA. They also foul a lot, surrendering the most free throw attempts per game in the league. To exploit this the Warriors will have to stay aggressive, attack the basket and draw contact to take advantage of the Pelicans’ flaws.
With so many players out, the Pelicans lean heavily on Eric Gordon. The team is supposedly trying to move their shooting guard and having him involved in the offense a lot more obviously boosts his market value. Over the last five games, Gordon is putting up 23.4 points per game, including a 35-point outburst against the Houston Rockets.
Tyreke Evans (game-time decision)
Ryan Anderson (out)
Jrue Holiday (out)
Jason Smith (out)
Nemanja Nedovic (out)
Festus Ezeli (out)
Jermaine O’Neal (out)
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