Shootaround update: Raptors at Pelicans
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Updates from Wednesday morning’s shootaround at the Smoothie King Center:
• Of New Orleans’ final 16 games, 11 are against opponents that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. Each of the next five games fit that description, starting tonight vs. Toronto. Pelicans guard Eric Gordon on the stretch run: “You definitely have something to prove toward the end of the year. We’re still trying to find chemistry (as a team) and see how well we can do to finish up the year, and individually you just try to get better as a player.”
• Gordon on his matchup against Raptors All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan: “I’ve just got to try to keep him out of the paint. He shoots a lot, so for me, I need to make sure I contest every shot. Make sure he shoots a lot of tough, contested jump shots.”
• The Raptors posted a 108-101 victory over the Pelicans on Feb. 10, a game described by Gordon as “weird. Early on, things weren’t going our way. They hit a lot of shots up there. Tonight we’ve got to really hunker down on defense and really keep them out of the paint. They like to score inside and play an inside-outside game.”
• Greg Stiemsma on what he would change about his season: “Stay healthy, for one thing. I think that would’ve helped a lot. Otherwise I don’t really look at regrets or what could’ve been different. I just try to live with the choice I made. I want to impose my will and be the kind of player I’ve been to get here (to the NBA).”
• Toronto played last night in Atlanta and therefore did not hold a shootaround at the SKC. The Raptors lost in overtime to the Hawks. This morning, the Raptors were listing starting center Jonas Valanciunas as questionable for tonight with a lower back strain. The second-year pro played 20 minutes at Atlanta. Power forward Patrick Patterson is out with a right ulnar collateral sprain.