Opponent: New Orleans Pelicans
Location: Smoothie King Center (New Orleans)
Time: 7:00 PM EDT
Watch: YES Network, Fox Sports GO app
The Nets (12-35) put out a stinker in Dallas last night, shooting 36 percent including 4-of-20 (20 pct) from three-point range in a 91-79 loss. The Mavericks were sparked by the return of Zaza Pachulia, who scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds after missing the previous three games with an Achilles injury, while Chandler Parsons led the scoring with 19 points. The Nets bench was outscored 34-2 while shooting just 1-for-14 from the field.
“We have our starters playing pretty good together,” Nets interim coach Tony Brown said. “But we have to find some other guys to kind of get in the fray. When you start playing big minutes to Joe, Brook and Thad — they were a little gassed toward the end.”
Well, their gas tank will be tested tonight. The Nets are on the second leg of back-to-back road games, in New Orleans to face the Pelicans (17-28). After digging themselves in an early-season hole, the Pelicans have won six of their last eight games, including five of their last six at home. On Thursday, playing without All-Star forward Anthony Davis (concussion) and Tyreke Evans (knee tendinitis), Alvin Gentry’s shorthanded squad beat the Sacramento Kings 114-105, thanks to a season-high 36 points from ex-Nets forward Ryan Anderson and 25 points & eight assists from Jrue Holiday off the bench. Davis and Evans’ status for tonight’s game are uncertain.
This will be the first meeting of the season between the Nets and Pelicans. Last season, the Pelicans swept the two-game season series: on February 25th in New Orleans, playing without Davis (right shoulder injury), the Pelicans won 102-96 behind a career-high 25 points from Quincy Pondexter (Pondexter is lost for this season after having knee surgery on January 11th); on March 10th in Brooklyn, the Nets were once again done by the Pelican supporting cast, losing 111-91. The Pelicans shot 51.7 percent in that game, including 12-for-21 from three-point range, and once again led by Pondexter (17 points, 5-of-6 from three.
What to watch for: With four starters playing over 35 minutes last night, will Coach Brown look to his bench for extended minutes? After an uninspiring night from the second unit, it will be interesting to see if players like Thomas Robinson, Willie Reed, or Markel Brown get a chance to make an impact especially considering the iffy status of Davis and Evans.