1/16 Game Preview: Pelicans at Celtics
BOSTON -- The local fans can be forgiven for doing a little dreaming when the New Orleans Pelicans visit the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.
You might recall last season, when the TD Garden crowd openly "recruited" free agent-to-be Gordon Hayward during the Utah Jazz's visits, which angered then-Celtics forward Jae Crowder. But the fans wanted Hayward, and they got him.
On Tuesday, Pelicans forward Anthony Davis is on the parquet, trying to end Boston's seven-game winning streak.
The Big Eyebrow is NOT a free agent after the season. But that hasn't quieted rumors that the Pelicans would move him in a mega deal.
Boston fans have come up with all kinds of plans that would make the deal happen. And while they're allowed to dream, it's not likely.
Davis leads his Pelicans (22-20, 11-11 on the road) into TD Garden coming off a 48-point, 17-rebound effort in an overtime victory over the New York Knicks on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden -- their third win in the last four games.
"I thought we did a great job in the overtime," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. "AD was just huge for us, and when you get into those zones like that, he's really good."
Davis had help. Jrue Holiday scored 31 points and DeMarcus Cousins added 15 points and 16 rebounds, overcoming a 4-of-16 night from the floor.
Asked what his team showed in the win, Davis said, "Resilience. Toughness. Mental toughness. We just wanted to come out and get this win. We felt like we owed these guys. They came in our home and beat us (on Dec. 30) in a game we felt like we should've won."
Davis and Cousins have played very well together -- Davis averaging 26.7 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.08 blocks per game, and Cousins is at 25.5 points, 12.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.
In nine career games against the Celtics, Davis has averaged 24.7 points and 12.1 rebounds.
The Pelicans, who will play the second game of a three-game trip, have a lengthy absence list -- for injury or personal reasons -- including former Celtic Tony Allen (broken leg). But another ex-Celtics player, Rajon Rondo, comes to town averaging 7.4 points and 7.8 assists. He also registered a triple-double, giving him at least one for four different teams.
For the Celtics, this will only be the second game in 11 days -- the other was in London last Thursday. The break in games has allowed Boston (34-10) to get in some practice and healing time.
Rookie Jayson Tatum suffered a knee injury in the win over the Philadelphia 76ers in London and was considered day to day. But he was expected to play Tuesday.
"It feels a lot better," Tatum said Monday. "I just tweaked it in the game in London, and the long plane ride it got a little stiff. We had a few days off. ... So (the Celtics) just told me to rest the other day at practice."
On Saturday, coach Brad Stevens said, "We want to be cautious and know exactly what happened."
Boston's Jaylen Brown revealed that one of the rims in London was slightly off, something backed up by Philadelphia's JJ Redick.
Brown said he told his coaches about it before the game but apparently wasn't taken seriously. He added that it didn't matter because both teams had to shoot at that basket for half the game.
The Celtics have gone 5-1 against the Pelicans in the past three seasons, winning three in a row at TD Garden.