Shootaround update: Spurs at Pelicans
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Updates from Monday morning’s shootaround at the New Orleans Arena:
• In a rarity, the opposition’s injury report is just as extensive as New Orleans’ list of affected players. Listed as out for San Antonio (34-14) are Danny Green (hand), Kawhi Leonard (hand) and Manu Ginobili (hamstring), all key members of a team that reached the 2013 NBA Finals. For New Orleans, Ryan Anderson (herniated disc), Jrue Holiday (tibia) and Jason Smith (knee) remain out of action.
• With Anderson, Holiday and Smith all sidelined recently, the Pelicans have had more or less the same group of 10-11 players available for an extended period of time. They appear to have improved their on-court chemistry, resulting in a 5-2 record since Martin Luther King Day. Defense has been key, with New Orleans holding opponents under 100 points in four straight games.
• Pelicans center Greg Stiemsma on the team’s current mindset: “We know what we are facing and that our backs are kind of against the wall, with injuries. I think with this group, we all see this as an opportunity. Everyone’s got to take advantage of a little more playing time than usual. We’re trying to play a little harder, a little smarter and be more efficient.”
• Stiemsma on the keys to defending the Spurs’ interior duo of Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter: “You’ve just got to do your work early with those guys. Be physical, impose your will and not let them run free and do whatever they want. Easier said than done, too.”
• Anthony Davis is averaging 25.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and 7.0 blocks in his last three games, all Pelicans victories. He’s averaging 16.0, 8.5 and 3.0 in those categories against the Spurs this season.