Shootaround update: Nuggets at Pelicans
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Updates from Friday morning’s shootaround at the New Orleans Arena:
• Pelicans center Jason Smith (right knee bone bruise) is hopeful that he’ll be able to play tonight against the Nuggets, but his status is still to be determined. “I can move a lot better definitely,” said Smith, who has missed the past two games after starting the first 24. “I still don’t know if I’m going to be able to (play) tonight, but I would love to get out there with the guys tonight. I’ve just got to remain positive, trust the training staff and keep working as hard as I can to get out there. (The decision to play will be based on) how I feel tonight in warmups, kind of seeing how loose it gets. Hopefully I’ll be able to go.”
• An update on Smith and Eric Gordon’s status is expected during Monty Williams’ pregame availability, which begins at 5:15 p.m. Smith and Gordon are both officially listed as day-to-day.
• New Orleans (12-14) is attempting to even up the season series against Denver (14-13) at 1-1, as well as move within a half game of the Nuggets in the Western Conference standings. Currently in ninth place, Denver won the first meeting 102-93. “We didn’t have a good game,” Smith said. “We know what kind of team they are. They played harder than us in Denver. It showed. We have to come out early tonight, really enforce our will.”
• Jrue Holiday on some of the keys to facing Ty Lawson and the Nuggets: “Try to keep him out of the paint. Obviously he’s one of the fastest (guards) in the league. (Also) keeping Kenneth Faried, J.J. Hickson and their big men off the boards. Even though we have (Anthony Davis) and Ryan (Anderson) down there, our guards have to get in and help.”
• The Pelicans are in the midst of one of their most difficult schedule stretches of 2013-14. Having just completed a five-game road trip, they have home games against Denver and Portland, sandwiched around a road game at Houston tomorrow night. They’ll head back on the road for a four-game trip starting New Year’s Eve that leads into a Jan. 1 game at Minnesota. “That’s a part of the NBA,” Holiday said. “Guys who’ve been here long enough know that. That’s where we’ve got to step up and kind of rally around each other.”