Pregame report: Pelicans at Grizzlies
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
News and updates from FedEx Forum prior to Monday’s Southwest Division game between New Orleans and Memphis:
• Pelicans guard Anthony Morrow (illness) is out for today’s game, meaning the Pelicans are down to just 10 available players.
• While the Pelicans (15-24) have been losing key players to injury lately, the Grizzlies (20-19) are going in the opposite direction, with center Marc Gasol returning recently. Pelicans Coach Monty Williams on the impact of Gasol: “He’s a great passer (and was) Defensive Player of the Year (in 2012-13). He has experience. He’s certainly a guy who can facilitate their offense, because of his passing. We just have to do a great job of getting in his face and not allowing him to pick us apart. And you’ve got to get him off the (rebounding) glass. When they’re really good, he and Zach Randolph are pushing you under the basket. They don’t give you an opportunity to box out.”
• Tony Allen is listed as day-to-day by Memphis but he will not play today, according to Grizzlies Coach Dave Joerger.
• Williams, who also often experienced widespread injuries to players when he was an assistant coach for the Portland Trail Blazers: “I’ve been with a number of teams who have dealt with this. I know what the end result can be. The experience we’re getting with some of our guys is going to pay off, even though you’re going through a rough time (now). That doesn’t excuse the result. We could sit here and make excuses about the schedule, injuries, all that stuff. You want to win games, but at the same time you’ve got a chance to develop guys who (are getting an unexpected chance to play).”
• Joerger said in preseason that he picked Portland and New Orleans to be among the teams vying for a playoff berth in the tough Western Conference. The Trail Blazers have since risen to the top of the standings. Joerger: “Portland’s been healthy and terrific. New Orleans has been banged up.”
• Joerger on the Pelicans: “They’ve got a really, really good team when they’re healthy. Anthony Davis is very, very talented. Eric Gordon has played very well against us. Anthony Davis is making a case to be an All-Star. I think he will be one for many years to come.”
• Memphis has not won a division game yet this season, including losing twice to New Orleans head-to-head.