Game Preview: Pelicans vs. Bucks - March 7, 2014

Pelicans vs. Bucks Game Preview

Two teams with lineups often decimated by injuries in 2013-14 will meet Friday in the Crescent City, when the New Orleans Pelicans host the Milwaukee Bucks for the only time this season. The Pelicans, who have been without key players Ryan Anderson, Jrue Holiday and Jason Smith for an extended stretch, won’t get much sympathy from the visiting Bucks, a team that has also experienced more than its share of health adversity.

In New Orleans’ 102-98 victory at Milwaukee on Feb. 12, the Bucks only used eight players, partly as a result of injuries to big men Larry Sanders and John Henson. Milwaukee has often been forced to go with one of the most inexperienced starting lineups in the league. In the Feb. 12 matchup, the Bucks started rookie point guard Nate Wolters and second-year wing Khris Middleton.

The Pelicans used a balanced attack to defeat the Bucks in the prior matchup, featuring seven different players reaching double figures in scoring. Eric Gordon led the way with 21 points for an entire starting lineup that delivered 10 or more points. Off the bench, Tyreke Evans added 12 points and Luke Babbitt had 10.

Friday’s game marks the first contest of a season-high six-game homestand for the Pelicans. New Orleans is trying to get back to its winning ways at the Smoothie King Center from the middle portion of the season, when it had several impressive wins over teams such as Chicago, Atlanta and Minnesota. NOLA will also try to improve upon its 14-10 overall record against the Eastern Conference this season, with only six games remaining vs. the league’s weaker half (also left on the schedule are Boston, Toronto, Atlanta, Miami and Brooklyn).

Pelicans Tyreke Evans
Sixth Man
Tyreke Evans vs. O.J. Mayo
Evans and Mayo are two players accustomed to starting for the bulk of their NBA careers, but this season both have been used as reserves, providing instant offense off the bench. In his first season with New Orleans, Evans is the team’s fifth-leading scorer and ranks second in assists. Mayo recently erupted for 25 points, including seven three-pointers, in a 130-110 victory for Milwaukee against Philadelphia. Mayo is a familiar foe for New Orleans, having spent his previous NBA seasons with Southwest Division clubs Memphis and Dallas.
Bucks O.J. Mayo