Pelicans at Wolves
7:00 pm CST
Since starting the season a disastrous 1-11, the Pelicans have been desperately trying to work their way back into the playoff picture. After cresting at 18-28, however, the Pels have lost their last four and any momentum they might have had. Injuries and incremental declines from much of their roster have been their undoing, and the shift from Monty WIlliams to Alvin Gentry has clearly not had the desired effect. In particular, their defense has fallen apart, down to 27th in the league, as compared to their above average 12th rated offense.
Of course they still feature the fantastic Anthony Davis, but even he has arguably taken a small step backwards this season after being widely viewed as a top MVP candidate coming into the year. He's been merely excellent as opposed to otherworldly. Beyond him, however, things have not gone well. Their perimeter rotation is filled with a bunch of guys playing in the sea of below average-to-average, Omer Asik has regressed badly, and there really isn't that much else there.
The last meeting between these two teams was one of the more depressing nights of the year for Wolves fans, I thought. After building a big first half lead, the Wolves watched helplessly has the Pels blew by them in the second half and won 115-99. Davis led the way with 35, but the Wolves allowed the Pels to shoot over 50% from the field and 10-23 from three while also grabbing 12 offensive rebounds. It was a truly dispiriting performance.
Now, however, the Wolves come in on a bit of a high, with a two game winning streak including a terrific close out against the Bulls in a game that their big men--Karl-Anthony Towns and Gorgui Dieng--dominated, with help from Ricky Rubio and Andrew Wiggins. Meanwhile, the Pels have lost four in a row and are stumbling toward the All-star break, no doubt wondering if changes are coming as we approach the trade deadline.
I really want this one. With only the Raps left before the break after tonight, let's develop some real momentum. The Pels will be without Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans, both out with injury, and are struggling to compensate.
Could be an interesting match up of bigs tonight, with the Pels starting Davis and Asik against Towns and Dieng. No small ball to start things off for these teams.
Our blogging buddies are at The Bird Writes. Be excellent.
No no no.
Enjoy. Chat. Go.