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Slumping Nets take a trip to New Orleans

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New Orleans Pelicans v Golden State Warriors Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

More of the same. The Brooklyn Nets tried to stop their losing streak on Tuesday night against the Toronto Raptors, but fell short 119-110 in front of the home fans. It was their 11th straight loss and It doesn’t get any easier from here. This is the first night of a back-to-back and three games in four nights stretch. After this, they’re flying to Charlotte to play the Hornets on Saturday night before coming home to play the Spurs on Monday night. It’s only going to get worse from here.

The opponent this evening will be the New Orleans Pelicans. The Pels haven’t had the season they would have liked, but they’re still within striking distance of the eighth seed. They played the Orlando Magic on Wednesday and came away with an easy victory. Things get tougher for New Orleans once they’re done with this game. To close out their six game homestand, they’ll face the: Cavs, Thunder, Spurs, and Wizards.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WCBS 880 AM on radio. Tip off after 8.

Injuries

No new news on Jeremy Lin. He is out and has yet to start practicing. Chris McCullough is in Toronto with the Long Island Nets for the D-League Showcase.

Anthony Davis is a bit banged up, but all signs point to him playing.

The game

The Pelicans won the first meeting last week.

The Pelicans need wing help, and for now at least, Tyreke Evans will have to do. Evans has never been a great three point shooter, but he is shooting a respectable 35.6 percent from deep this year. This is following a career best 38.8 percent from three last season. H

Rookies tend to struggle, and Buddy Hield is struggling right now. Over the past four games, Hield is shooting 36.7 percent from the field and 27.8 percent from three point range. The Pelicans need as much shooting help as they can get, and that means Hield will need to pick it up ASAP if he wants to help New Orleans sneak into the eighth seed by April. Caris Levert hasn’t had those rookie struggles yet, but when it inevitably happens, he should be given a chance to work his way through it.

Player to watch: Anthony Davis

Davis didn’t play against the Nets last week as he sat the game out due to a hip injury. As always, you have to be mindful of injuries when it comes to Davis. He had to leave Monday’s game against the Pacers with a thumb/hip injury but he was able to play on Wednesday. And on Wednesday, he appeared to hurt his fingers but he was fine. When he’s on the court, he’s been one of the ten best players in the league. He can score in the low post, he's a good jump shooter, and is helping revolutionize the Center position. As lpng as he can stay healthy, he'll continue to be an All Star and one of the league's most exciting players.

Brook Lopez is set to play tonight, and with this being a back-to-back, I expect him to play a heavy amount of minutes tonight. The Hornets don't employ great big men and the Nets will need as much help as they can with Davis. Opponents are shooting 56.7 percent on shots inside of six feet against AD, so look for the Nets to feed Lopez on the inside early. The Pelicans don't play their other centers anymore, so if the Nets can get Davis into foul trouble, it'll help them in getting their firat road win in two months.

D-League Showcase

While the Brooklyn Nets will be in New Orleans Friday night, the Long Island Nets will be in a Toronto suburb for the D-League Showcase. All 22 D-League teams gather in one place to play a series of games but mostly to show off talent.

Showcase gives the nearly 200 players on D-League rosters a chance to shine in hopes of landing an NBA contract. It coincides with the period of the season when NBA teams can sign free agents to 10-day contracts.

The majority of players in the NBA D-League are free agents who can be signed by any NBA team (click here to learn more about how rosters are built), so a flurry of deals typically occurs during and after Showcase each year. Fifty players have been called during or immediately after the 12 Showcases.

The Long Island Nets, led by Chris McCullough, Yogi Ferrell and R.J. Hunter, play at 8:30 p.m. Friday on ESPNU. So for the time this season, the two teams will play at (roughly) the same time and on television. (All D-League games are carried on the league’s Facebook page). The young Nets signed Trevor Cooney this week. The former Syracuse swing man had been playing in Germany.

All of the Long Island Nets except for McCullough can be called up for 10-day deal, but if they don’t get extended past the second 10-day, they return to Long Island since the Nets control their D-League rights.

From the Vault

We’re gonna have to retire this one for the time being. Take it away, Jeezy!

More reading: The Bird Writes