Game Preview: Pelicans vs. Celtics - March 16, 2014

Pelicans vs. Celtics Game Preview

Throughout most of the 2013-14 regular season, the New Orleans Pelicans have capitalized on their matchups against Eastern Conference opponents, going 15-10 overall. Sunday’s home game against the Boston Celtics provides the Pelicans with another opportunity to build on their success vs. the NBA’s weaker conference. The Pelicans-Celtics game also marks a stretch of five consecutive matchups for New Orleans against the East. Over the next eight days, the Pelicans will play Toronto, Atlanta, Miami and Brooklyn. All but the Atlanta game will be played here in the Smoothie King Center.

The Pelicans’ above-average performance vs. the East this season has been highlighted by an 8-3 record in home games. New Orleans has defeated several likely East playoff squads in its home arena, including Chicago, Charlotte and Atlanta.

Sunday also means a chance for the Pelicans to sweep yet another East foe. On Jan. 3 in Boston, New Orleans posted a narrow 95-92 victory at TD Garden, improving its overall record at the time to 15-16. Unfortunately for the Pelicans and forward Ryan Anderson, the trip to Boston included an accidental fourth-quarter collision in which Anderson was injured and forced to leave the court on a stretcher. After undergoing tests, Anderson was ruled out for at least two months with a herniated disc injury. He has not played in a game since. Less than a week later on Jan. 8, Jrue Holiday (stress fracture in right shin) played his final game of 2013-14. As a result, the Pelicans have been without their second-leading scorer and starting point guard for more than 30 games.

Anderson scored 13 points in the win over Boston, part of the New Orleans bench’s outstanding 52-point night. Anthony Davis led the Pelicans overall by registering 23 points and nine rebounds.

Pelicans Brian Roberts
Point Guard
Brian Roberts vs. Rajon Rondo
Both players’ seasons have been greatly impacted by injuries, but in very different ways. Roberts was unexpectedly moved into a starting role when Holiday was sidelined in January. Meanwhile, Rondo did not make his 2013-14 season debut until Jan. 17, after he had missed the latter portion of 2012-13 with a torn ACL in his right knee. It took Rondo a few games to round into form, but lately he has regularly notched double-digit points and assists for the rebuilding Celtics.
Celtics Rajon Rondo