Pregame report: Pelicans at Rockets
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Updates from the Toyota Center prior to Saturday’s Southwest Division game between New Orleans and Houston:
• Eric Gordon is out for Saturday’s game with a right hip contusion. He’s missing his second straight game after playing in each of the previous 26. Jason Smith’s status remained uncertain about 90 minutes prior to tip-off, with Pelicans Coach Monty Williams saying, “We don’t know yet (if he can play).” Anthony Morrow started at shooting guard on Friday in place of Gordon. UPDATE: Brian Roberts will be the other starting guard, along with Jrue Holiday, in Saturday's game against Houston. The team's frontcourt first unit remains the same: Al-Farouq Aminu, Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis.
• Williams on his team’s response to various injuries in 2013-14: “We’ve had guys step up in different rotations, but it does throw your progress off. You start the season without Ryan, then you lose (Davis), Tyreke (Evans) has been in and out, now no Eric. But I’m thankful that our guys have had injuries they can bounce back from. You look around the league, there are a ton of injuries where some guys won’t be back this season.”
• Williams on Darius Miller, who is coming off an 11-point game vs. Denver that was a key in the 16-point victory: “He’s worked on his game on lot this summer, but he had an injury and was out for a long time. It takes guys like that a few weeks to get their rhythm back. Unfortunately we have a lot of guys who play the same position, so it’s hard to get him minutes. But if he continues to play like that, he’ll find his way in (the rotation).”
• Omer Asik (thigh/knee) and Patrick Beverley (hand) are out for Houston (20-11). James Harden is listed as probable, but in pregame Rockets Coach Kevin McHale said Harden “should be good to go.”
• New Orleans (13-14) has a chance Saturday to improve to .500 and compile its third separate three-game winning streak of the season. The Pelicans have been unusually streaky, including separate losing skeins of three and four games to go with their pair of previous three-game win streaks. New Orleans enters Saturday in 10th place but is just two games out of eighth in the Western Conference. Current No. 8 Dallas (16-13) is at Chicago tonight, while ninth-place Denver (14-14) is at Memphis.