Shootaround update: Grizzlies at Pelicans
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Updates from Friday morning’s shootaround at the New Orleans Arena:
• The Pelicans do not have a complete roster without Anthony Davis and Greg Stiemsma, but they’ll receive little sympathy from the Grizzlies, who have even more players listed on their injury report. Memphis center Marc Gasol (left MCL sprain) and wing catalyst Quincy Pondexter (stress fracture in right foot) are both out for Friday’s game, while Tony Allen (hip) and Ed Davis (left ankle sprain) are day-to-day. With Gasol and Allen missing games recently, Memphis has had to go away from its familiar starting five, inserting Kosta Koufos and Jerryd Bayless at those positions.
• New Orleans (10-10) enters Friday tied for 10th place in the Western Conference with Minnesota (11-11), just a half-game ahead of Memphis (10-11) and the L.A. Lakers (10-11) in what’s been a serious standings logjam.
• The Pelicans are 16th in the NBA in pace, which still ranks in the bottom half in the league but is noticeably faster than the team has played in recent years under Monty Williams. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies are 29th in pace of play. At shootaround, New Orleans shooting guard Eric Gordon sounded like the Pelicans want to accelerate the tempo against the Grizzlies: “They like to play a slow-pace type game. We’ve just got to keep on running, get some easy transition baskets. We definitely want to play faster against them.”
• Gordon on the Pelicans being a .500 team so far this season: “We expect to be better, for sure. With these type games and the (five-game) road trip coming up, you definitely want to buckle down and do the right things necessary to win games.”
• The Pelicans have a chance to take a 2-0 season-series edge on the Grizzlies tonight, which could be a key consideration later in the campaign. On Nov. 6, New Orleans won 99-84 at Memphis.