Game Preview: Pelicans vs. Nuggets - March 9, 2014
It’s only been two-plus months since the last time the New Orleans Pelicans faced the Denver Nuggets, but there are very few similarities between the NOLA team that took the floor Dec. 27 and the one that will play Sunday in the Crescent City. In a 105-89 victory over the Nuggets two days after Christmas, the Pelicans used a starting lineup of Jrue Holiday, Anthony Morrow, Al-Farouq Aminu, Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis. When New Orleans hosts Denver this time, it’s possible that only Davis will be in the first unit from that group. Holiday is out for the season due to a stress fracture in his right tibia, while Anderson remains sidelined long term as a result of a herniated disc.
Holiday and Anderson combined for 33 points in the win vs. Denver, two of the team’s top four scorers. Tyreke Evans, who started games during New Orleans’ recent Western road trip, came off the bench to lead the Pelicans with 19 points in that game.
New Orleans would love to start as quickly Sunday as it did on Dec. 27, when the hosts charged to a 58-45 halftime lead and won all four quarters. The Pelicans evened the season series against the Nuggets, who had won 102-93 on Dec. 15, in the first 2013-14 meeting between these two Western Conference clubs. There is still one more head-to-head encounter on the schedule, which will take place April 2 in Denver.
The Nuggets currently have the second-longest streak in the NBA of advancing to the playoffs, qualifying for the postseason 10 consecutive years, a stretch that dates back to the drafting of former star Carmelo Anthony in 2003. However, barring a miraculous close to 2013-14, Denver will miss the West playoff field this time. The Nuggets have posted a winning record every season since 2003-04, but that streak also appears to be in serious jeopardy.
Anthony Davis vs. Kenneth Faried