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Nets visit Big Easy to face Pelicans

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Milwaukee Bucks v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The streak lives on. It's been over a decade since the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets won a game in San Antonio, and on Tuesday they weren't able to snap the streak as they lost by 12 to the Spurs. It doesn't get any easier from here as they've got three more games to go on this holiday road trip.

The opponent tonight will be the New Orleans Pelicans. It’s been a bit of an inconsistent season for Alvin Gentry’s guys, but they are in playoff contention and will likely be in the top eight by the time the season ends in April. They’ve been on a nice break after beating the Heat in Miami on Saturday night.

Where to follow the game

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

Injuries

Nothing new for the Nets.

Tony Allen fractured his fibula a few weeks ago and is out. Dante Cunningham hurt his back against Miami but appears to be ready to play. The Pelican front court is healthy and that’s never a good thing for the opponent.

The game

The Pelicans sport one of the league's most explosive offenses, but there's one thing that's keeping them from contention. They're terrible on defense. They're allowing 107.3 points per 100 possessions on defense this season, seventh worst in the league. Despite that, there's room for optimism in Louisiana. Over at The Bird Writes, Oleh Kosel wrote:

Anyways, unlike most other teams, the Pelicans have not lost their fair share of games because the offense failed to put the ball through the basket. If they can figure out a way to prevent handing out too many easy points stemming from turnovers, second chance opportunities, heck, not getting back on defense quickly enough after misses — like we just saw on the two-game swing through Florida, then a fifth or sixth seed in the Western Conference could well be within striking range.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is gonna have a workout this evening. He had to deal with LaMarcus Aldridge last night and now has to contend with Anthony Davis. We spend so much time talking about the great young big men in the league, but it feels as if we forget how exceptional AD is and the fact that he's only 24 years ago. Brow is shooting a career high 56.9 percent from the field, and that's thanks in large part to him shooting 79.7 (!!) percent on shots inside of three feet. Combine that with good ball handling skills and a reliable jump shot and you've got one of the most impossible players to defend in the NBA. For RHJ, if he can keep Davis out of the paint, it'll be a successful night.

I'm still not sure if Rajon Rondo fits in the new NBA any more, but he's still here and that counts for something. The usual (shaky jumper, too many turnovers) applies, and that will help Spencer Dinwiddie. This game is gonna be a track meet as both squads are top ten in pace. One constant for Dinwiddie this year has been his low turnover rate, and as a team, New Orleans doesn't force that many turnovers. Dinwiddie will have plenty of opportunities to set his teammates up with great looks from downtown tonight.

Player to watch: DeMarcus Cousins

Boogie is one of the most fascinating players to watch. He's still a bully in the low post, but has successfully expanded his range. He's taking a career high six three pointers a game and is shooting a respectable 35.3 percent from deep. He also gets to handle the ball more, and it's helped him average a career best five assists a night. The downside to handling the ball as often as he does is the turnovers that come along with it, and it should be noted that Boogie is turning it over five times a night. Provided Boogie excels in other areas, you can live with the turnovers and grousing at the refs.

We should be seeing a good amount of Jarrett Allen tonight. Allen crossed the 20 minute plateau for the first time in two weeks last night and should do so again tonight. Having rangy, athletic beg men is a must and the more we see Allen play, the better he looks. Quincy Acy will also get some time guarding Cousins and Brooklyn is hoping he can play physical defense against Boogie and bait him into making unforced errors.

From the Vault

It's probably been a while since you've listened to "Still Fly." Let me help you fix that.

More reading: The Bird Writes