Pregame report: Pelicans at Celtics
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
News and updates from the TD Garden prior to Friday’s interconference game between New Orleans and Boston:
• Pelicans Coach Monty Williams on Anthony Davis: “He’s just worked on his game. He’s gotten a lot of confidence from that. I’ve put a lot on his shoulders, a lot more than any 20-year-old should have, but we feel like he’s a once-in-a-lifetime player. We’ve got to make sure he’s ready for what’s coming. I’ve talked to him a lot about how right now everybody looks at me (for blame if the team doesn’t play well). But pretty soon, they’re going to be looking at him. So we’ve tried to help him ease into that role. He’s done a really good job of it.”
• More from Williams on Davis: “He’s certainly shooting the ball a lot better than he did last year. He’s more active. We put a lot of pressure on him to ignite our transition. He runs an awful lot. I think (Houston forward) Chandler Parsons runs more than anybody else, but Anthony would be in that group. It really helps a lot of our guys get open shots, because if he’s running to the rim, (defenses) have to take that into consideration. That opens up opportunities for everyone else.”
• For the second straight game since Eric Gordon returned from injury, the Pelicans will start Jrue Holiday, Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, Ryan Anderson and Davis.
• Due to the snowy weather in the area overnight, the Celtics did not fly into Boston until this morning, arriving around 1 p.m., according to first-year coach Brad Stevens. “We picked some bad cities to have to fly into,” Stevens said, smiling. “No excuses. It’s a quick turnaround (from playing last night in Chicago), a unique deal. Sometimes things happen. You still have to go and play.”
• Stevens on the Pelicans: “New Orleans is one of the most intriguing, talented young teams in this league.” Stevens complimented Anthony Davis’ versatility and said of NOLA’s guards, “They’re all pretty dynamic, and young as well.”
• Boston is expected to go with its customary starting five of guards Jordan Crawford and Avery Bradley, forwards Jeff Green and Brandon Bass, and center Jared Sullinger.