Game Preview: Pelicans vs. Magic - January 26, 2014

Pelicans vs. Magic Game Preview

When the New Orleans Pelicans host the Orlando Magic on Sunday evening, it will be a meeting of teams building around a recent top-two overall draft pick. A year after New Orleans selected Anthony Davis No. 1 in the 2012 NBA Draft, Orlando chose guard Victor Oladipo second in the ’13 selection process. In just his second pro season, Davis has made a strong case to be selected by Western Conference coaches to play in next month’s All-Star Game, a decision that will be announced Jan. 30.

Meanwhile, Oladipo has been one of the league’s premier rookies, a strong candidate to earn Rookie of the Year. Roughly halfway through 2013-14, Oladipo trails only Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams and perhaps Utah’s Trey Burke in the ROY race.

If Davis is not tabbed by the West’s coaches to participate in the All-Star Game here in New Orleans on Feb. 16, he’s still a lock to be part of that weekend’s festivities. On Feb. 14, the NBA holds its annual Rising Stars Challenge that features first- and second-year standouts. If Davis is not selected as an All-Star, he is guaranteed to play in that contest; Oladipo also should be on the floor for the Rising Stars game.

With key players Jrue Holiday (stress fracture in tibia), Ryan Anderson (herniated disc) and Jason Smith (knee) all sidelined by injury, Davis, Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans have had to take on even larger offensive roles. During the Pelicans’ Jan. 13-18 homestand, Davis registered a 31-point, 17-rebound game vs. Golden State, three days after Gordon totaled 35 points against Houston. It was the most points Gordon has scored in a game since joining New Orleans in 2011. Evans himself returned from injury Jan. 18 and sparked New Orleans to an excellent road win at Memphis two days later, coming up with several clutch fourth-quarter plays. Evans’ current status is day-to-day due to illness.

Pelicans Eric Gordon
Intriguing matchup: Shooting guard
Eric Gordon vs. Victor Oladipo
A pair of Indiana University products meet for the second time as pros. Oladipo brandished his all-around game during the Magic’s Nov. 1 home win over the Pelicans, notching 10 points, six rebounds, six assists, four steals and two blocks. Gordon finished with 12 points in the 110-90 loss, but has averaged about 17 points per game in January.
Magic Victor Oladipo