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The Pelicans invade Brooklyn

NBA: Houston Rockets at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Still nothing. The Nets hosted the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night and got beaten by 20 points. The losing streak is at seven with no end in sight. This is the first half of a back-to-back for the Nets. They’re heading to Toronto to face the Raptors tomorrow night. Scary hours.

Making the trip into Barclays will be the New Orleans Pelicans. They haven’t had the season they would have liked, but they still find themselves close to the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoff chase. They snapped a three game losing streak with an easy 110-96 win over the New York Knicks at MSG on Monday night. They’ve been off since that day and have gotten some time to relax and take in the city. They get back to their five game road trip after this as they’ll head to Chicago and Indianapolis to wrap things up.

Where to follow the game

YES Network for TV. WFAN 101.9 FM for radio. Tip off after 7:30.


No Jeremy Lin. Trevor Booker is probable. Chris McCullough, after one game on the bench, is back with Long Island.

Quincy Pondexter underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and will be out indefinitely. Anthony Davis expects to play.

The game

Over the summer, I read an incredibly interesting piece by Oleh Kosel of The Bird Writes. It was about the possibility of playing Anthony Davis at center and he wrote:

In addition to the changing modern landscape, a new wrinkle developed last season: the placement of smaller, quicker defenders on Davis. A number of articles have been written that have highlighted the magnetic effect of Anthony Davis on entire defenses, however, the league is catching up. Simply put, Davis was a scarier, more disruptive force on offense prior to last season, and until he learns to consistently punish opponents for this strategy in the post or the Pelicans coaching staff makes the necessary adjustments by increasing his opportunities around the rim, he will remain leashed similar to a dangerous junkyard dog.

Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca haven't played since late December and AD has become the team's center. In the past eight games, Brow has averaged 26.9 points and 16 rebounds a game on 51 percent shooting from the field. During that time period, the overwhelming majority of his shot attempts have come from inside of the restricted area and it’s led to him averaging close to nine free throw attempts a game. He’s dealing with a bad hip but he should be good to go. This poses a major challenge for Brook Lopez. Lopez has never been the best rebounder, but he’s gotten five rebounds in the past three games. That is completely unacceptable and the Nets need a lot more from him going forward.

Jrue Holiday missed the early part of the season as he tended to his wife (and former US Women’s National Team member) Lauren received treatment for a brain tumor and had a baby. Lauren is doing well these days and Jrue returned to the NBA in mid November. Since he’s been back, the Pelicans have gone 13-11 in the games he’s played. Holiday has been someone who break defenses down and get good looks for his teammates off of penetration. The Pelicans roster isn’t built to really take advantage of this, but maybe that will change as we get closer to the trade deadline. Without Lin, the Nets will turn to Isaiah Whitehead and Spencer Dinwiddie.

We get to watch two promising rookies this evening. Buddy Hield has gotten in gear since he became the starter in early December. He’s averaging 11 points on a 41.3/48.4/92.9 shooting split. On the other side is Caris Levert. Levert has taken on an increased role in recent games and it’s been paying off for the Nets.

Player to watch: Donatas Motiejunas

Almost had him. The Nets signed him to a four year contract, but the Houston Rockets matched it and that’s when all hell broke loose. He and the Rockets had a falling out and Motiejunas eventually became an unrestricted free agent. After a brief free agency, he signed a one year, $1.5 million deal with the Pelicans. Altogether, he lost around $37 million in this process. He discussed the entire ordeal here.

Rondae Hollis Jefferson started at the four on Tuesday and if Booker is out, he’ll probably be at the four again. The Pelicans aren’t the biggest team so the Nets could probably keep RHJ at the four again tonight if Booker isn’t ready.

From the Vault

Yesterday was Mary J. Blige’s birthday and with “What’s the 411?” turning 25 this summer, we’re taking a trip back to 1992.

More reading: The Bird Writes