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Struggling Nets look to end four-game losing streak versus depleted Pelicans

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets had all the confidence in the world after beating the Cavaliers and Pacers in back-to-back games last week, but since then it has been a downward spiral. Brooklyn's on a four-game losing streak losing their last three games by a combined 68 points.

The Nets are happy to be back home at Barclays Center where they're on a two-game winning streak. Their opponent, the Pelicans are as depleted of a roster as you can find. New Orleans is coming off of a gutsy win against the Nuggets on Thursday.

Despite all the injuries that New Orleans has had to deal with, they haven't complained and continue to play at a high level, beating the Knicks last week. Both teams are playing for pride and job security at this point in the season with both teams being eliminated from playoff contention.

Where to follow the game?

YES Network on TV, WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 1:00 PM.

Injuries

The Nets have no injuries besides Jarrett Jack's torn ACL, but they've been resting players a lot lately so don't be surprised if they do the same today.

The Pelicans injury list is a lengthy one. Ryan Anderson, Jrue Holiday, Anthony Davis, Norris Cole, Tyreke Evans, Alonzo Gee, Eric Gordon and Quincy Pondexter are all out due to various injuries. It's rare that a team suffers this many injuries in one season.

The game

2015-2016

Brooklyn

New Orleans

Record

21-55 28-47

Pace

97.2 99.0

Offensive Efficiency

101.0 102.9

Defensive Efficiency

107.8 106.6

Turnover Rate

13.8 12.2

Assist Rate

17.0 16.7

Offensive Rebounding Rate

23.9 21.0

Rebound Rate

49.7 49.0

Free Throw Rate

24.7 25.9

Effective Field Goal Percentage

49.3 49.5

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

53.0 52.6

Previous matchup

In one prior matchup this season, the Pelicans edged out the Nets 105-103 on a game winning jumper from Jrue Holiday.

Player to watch: Luke Babbitt

I know what a lot of you are thinking right now. Who?! Yes Luke Babbitt is the player to watch in today's game. It was hard to pick one particular player due to the Pelicans lack of depth, but Babbitt has played pretty solid basketball lately.

Over his last 10 games, Babbitt is averaging 11.7 points and 4.2 rebounds in 25 minutes per game. Babbitt has been the starting small forward for the Pelicans lately, he's 6'9" and can stretch the floor. Babbitt, 26 is getting a chance to prove himself and so far he has played relatively well.

Babbitt is aware that the team needs him to step-up with all of the injuries, so he's been aggressive. Babbitt attempted 25 shots last game versus the Nuggets, he only had 22 points, but the fact that he was looking to score is what the Pelicans need him to do today.

If you're not familiar with Babbitt, here's highlights from his game versus the Nuggets.

Nets X-factor: Thaddeus Young

There hasn't been too many positives for the Nets this season, but Thad Young has quietly put together a solid year. Young is averaging 15.1 points and 9 rebounds per game this season while shooting 51 percent from the field.

Young has rested in two of Brooklyn's last three games due to a hectic schedule and an attempt for the Nets to give their younger plays a chance to get more minutes. Brooklyn has lost four in a row and will need a big game from Young to get off the schneid.

Wins and losses don't mean much at this point, but with three home games left, the Nets want to give their fans something to smile about heading into the off-season. Young is going to have a chance to have a big game and dominant an anemic Pelicans front court.

Pelicans X-factor: Alvin Gentry

Yes I just called the Pelicans coach their X-factor. With all of New Orleans' injuries it's hard to single out one player that will be the difference maker. Gentry's substitutions and game planning is going to have as big of an impact as anything in this game.

Losing 8 players to season ending injuries is a task that nobody can overcome. Gentry has done all that he can and he's doing his best to keep his team as competitive as possible.

The Pelicans roster is full of players that weren't in the D-league too long ago which is a tough task for Gentry to fathom in his first year as Pelicans coach. Gentry will have his work cut out for him today and for the remainder of the season.

From the vault

Markel Brown is athletic, but no matter who athletic he is this dunk was flat-out ridiculous. Watch Markel go 360 for the slam and Ian Eagle call the incredible hops "Markelevation."

More reading: The Bird Writes