New Orleans Pelicans game previews between December 12 and December 18, including games against: Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs.
What a terrifying week for the Pelicans. Three of the absolute hottest teams in the league will be facing the Pelicans in the next 7 days. Luck of the draw.
Golden State Warriors
Tuesday, 13 December 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Home
With the absolute best offense in the NBA (league leading 118 points per game; league leading 31 assists per game; league leading 49.7% from the field; 2nd best offensive rating of 114.2) as well as a top 10 defense (10th in defensive rating at 102.3; league leading 9.4 steals; league leading 6.5 blocks; tied for league leading 43.1% opponent's field goal percentage; league leading 32.3% opponent's three point percentage), the Warriors are just as unstoppable as we thought only imaginable. Meanwhile, in New Orleans, the Pelicans are much worse than we would've imagined. With a bottom 10 offense (21st in points scored per game at 102.5; 23rd in FG% at 43.8%; 29th in 3 point percentage at 32.3%; 29th in offensive rebounds at 8.4 per game) they're struggling to score enough points to win games. Their defense has been fantastic at times, but it is far from good enough to stop this Warriors team. There is one silver lining though, and it's that Anthony Davis loves playing against Draymond Green.
In 13 games against Draymond Green in his career, Anthony Davis averages 23 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 assists per game. In their two matchups already this season, Anthony Davis is averaging 39 points per game, 15 rebounds per game, 2 assists per game, all on 57.1% shooting from the field. He's had their number for years (see: 2014-2015 first round playoff series) and that gives the Pelicans a chance every time they play them. The Pelicans will need Solomon Hill to step up one more time against Kevin Durant (he's shut down KD in both match-ups so far this season), as well as needing Jrue to have a huge game.
Thursday, 15 December 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Home
The easiest game of the Pelicans week is still going to be difficult. Though Paul George has already missed 7 games this season, the Pacers are still a game over .500 at the moment. They have struggled against bad teams this season though, losing to Dallas just last week as well as losses to Atlanta (during their losing streak), Phoenix, and Brooklyn. The Pelicans also seemingly match up well against the Pacers. Solomon Hill has shown time and time again this season that he is a very good 'superstar stopper' (not to mention the Pacers are the team that refused to pick up his team option last season). Jrue Holiday has the ability to shut down any guard in the league. And Anthony Davis anchors a defense like no one else in the league.
This is the first night of a back to back though, and Alvin Gentry might want to save his players for the second night. Anthony Davis will almost definitely still play 40+ minutes in this game, but I would expect Jrue to play less than 30, so expect a high dose of Tim Frazier and Buddy Hield in this game.
Friday, 16 December 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Away
When the Pelicans travel to Houston don't expect them to show any love to Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson. With Ryan Anderson taking shots at the Pelicans after his first ever practice with the Rockets, there's little chance the Pelicans will show very much love before and after the game on Friday. But the Rockets are streaking, sitting at 6 wins in a row thanks to James Harden playing like the MVP, as well as Eric Gordon having his best year in a while. But the Rockets defense is just as bad as we expected, 21st in defensive rating at 108, so the game could be closer than expected thanks to the Pelicans having a top 10 defense as well as having the ability to tear apart lower ranked defenses in the league. The Rockets have no one who can guard Anthony Davis while the Pelicans have multiple guys who can slow down James Harden (namely Jrue Holiday and Solomon Hill).
San Antonio Spurs
Sunday, 18 December 2016 at 07:00 PM ET Away
Always one of the most exciting match-ups on the Pelicans schedule, New Orleans will be looking to get revenge on the Spurs after being embarrassed by them earlier this season. After Solomon Hill shut down Kawhi in the first half of their first meeting (held him to 0-4 shooting) Solomon did not touch the floor again in the second half, allowing Kawhi to go off for 20 points in a huge 19 point victory for the Spurs. Scoring only 79 points in that game, the Pelicans really struggled (AD finished with only 18 points). But now they will have Jrue Holiday back, who will keep whoever is defending him from double teaming Anthony Davis. Despite having the second best record in the West, the Spurs always seem to play down to the Pelicans level. So this could be the most likely win of the week for the Pelicans (though it still isn't very likely).