Pregame report: Pelicans vs. Thunder
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
News and updates from Tulsa, prior to Thursday’s 7 p.m. Western Conference preseason matchup between New Orleans and Oklahoma City:
• Monty Williams on Eric Gordon’s return to the court for his first preseason game tonight: “We’re going to monitor his minutes, and not throw him out there and make him play 30 minutes his first time back.” Gordon will start at shooting guard after Austin Rivers held the spot Sunday in Biloxi. Prior to that, Anthony Morrow was the starter during the three-game road trip to Houston, Dallas and Jacksonville (vs. Orlando).
• The Pelicans will have 12 players available for Thursday’s game. The Pelicans’ roster stands at 15, but Jason Smith (hip) and Tyreke Evans (ankle) are out vs. the Thunder, while Darius Miller (foot) remains in the process of rehabbing from a stress fracture.
• NBA teams generally do not spend much time in preseason talking about their specific opponent, but Williams said he has started putting the Indiana Pacers on the Pelicans’ radar. Indiana is New Orleans’ first opponent in the regular season on Oct. 30. Williams: “We’ve dropped hints about that team, just to get guys to start thinking about Opening Night.” The Pacers-Pelicans game will take place in the New Orleans Arena, the inaugural game in Pelicans history.