Pregame report: Warriors at Pelicans
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Updates from the New Orleans Arena prior to Tuesday’s Western Conference game between Golden State and New Orleans:
• Much of Monty Williams’ pregame discussion centered on small forward, where Pelicans starter Al-Farouq Aminu has not played well for much of the first 13 games of the season. Aminu is not relied upon heavily for scoring, but Williams wants to see Aminu contributing more in other areas, such as rebounding and transition points. “When he’s been good for us, he’s (running) out on the break, ahead of everybody,” Williams said. “Anthony (Davis) is beating everybody down the floor.” Last season, Williams decided to bench Aminu after a poor stretch, but the fourth-year head coach does not want to have to use that option this time. Williams said one option would’ve been to use Darius Miller, but the second-year forward has been sidelined by a foot injury since September. Williams did not rule out a possible rotation alteration, noting that he already changed his starting center from Greg Stiemsma to Jason Smith late in preseason.
• Golden State has a lengthy injury list, which includes the day-to-day Jermaine O’Neal. Four Warriors, including Andre Iguodala, Toney Douglas, Festus Ezeli and Ognjen Kuzmic, are listed as out for tonight’s game. Combined with the suspension of Andrew Bogut, the visitors are unusually shorthanded, with only 10 players available (if O’Neal can play).
• Miller and Greg Stiemsma are out for New Orleans, but the other 13 players are all available for the Pelicans. Everyone got in the game Monday at San Antonio.
• Despite being only one game below .500, in the loaded West, New Orleans (6-7) enters Tuesday’s action in 13th place, ahead of only Sacramento and Utah. On the plus side, the Pelicans are also only one game out of eighth place behind Denver (7-6). Seventh-place Golden State (8-6) is 1.5 games ahead of New Orleans.