Pregame report: Pelicans at 76ers
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Updates from the Wells Fargo Center prior to Friday’s interconference game between New Orleans and Philadelphia:
• Roughly 45 minutes before tip-off, the Pelicans announced that Anthony Morrow will start at small forward, replacing Al-Farouq Aminu. It marks the first time that New Orleans has varied from its starting group of Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, Aminu, Anthony Davis and Jason Smith.
• The other big pregame news on the New Orleans side is that second-year small forward Darius Miller has been activated, after missing the first 14 games of the regular season. With Aminu off to a slow start, Miller would’ve had the opportunity to log minutes, according to Monty Williams, but has been rehabbing from a foot injury since September. Jeff Withey has been placed on the inactive list.
• Many eyes in Philadelphia tonight are on the return of Holiday to the City of Brotherly Love. The fifth-year NBA point guard made his All-Star debut last season as a member of the 76ers, but was traded to the Pelicans on 2013 draft night. Smith is also a former Sixers player, while Tyreke Evans hails from nearby Chester, Pa.
• Philadelphia’s listed starters are Michael Carter-Williams, James Anderson, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes, though Hawes is dealing with left knee soreness. The Sixers’ injury list includes Tony Wroten (game-time decision, lower back strain). Ninety minutes before tip-off, Sixers Coach Brett Brown said he expects Hawes and Wroten to play.
• Brown, a former San Antonio assistant coach, on Davis, who had nine blocks vs. Philadelphia in these teams’ previous meeting Nov. 16: “He has timing where he can pick things out of the air. He’s just an athlete that has superior skills and instincts. Tim Duncan was really special on timing, and I see glimpses of that with him.”