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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs @ New Orleans Pelicans

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Following a loss on Christmas to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Spurs head out to New Orleans to take on the Pelicans.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs vs. New Orleans Pelicans

Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA
December 26, 2014, 7:00 PM Spurs Time
TV: FSSW, RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

After playing 5 straight games against teams that should end up in the Western Conference playoffs, the Spurs are at a bit of a soft spot in their grueling December schedule with a matchup versus the New Orleans Pelicans. Instead of playing yet another probable playoff team, the Pelicans are a squad that will most likely merely contend for a playoff spot. Though they may not be a great team overall, New Orleans does have an MVP candidate in Anthony Davis, so it's not that much of a break.

The Spurs and Pelicans met early on in the season, with the Pelicans winning 100-99. In that game, Anthony Davis got whatever he wanted versus the Spurs. He recorded 27 points on 10-17 shooting, 11 boards, 6 blocks, and 4 steals. Davis capped off his night with a game-winning layup with 6 seconds left.

Davis gets a lot of his points in the natural flow of the game. The Pelicans run a lot more plays for him ; but a lot of his shots come by way of dump-offs from guards, spot-up jumpers, offensive rebounds, and running the floor in transition.

To limit the scoring chances that he gets in these spots, the Spurs will have to crash down on him when he rolls to the basket, or his man is in help, they'll have to close out well when he's open for a jumper, and put a body on him as soon as a shot goes up. If that sounds like a lot to handle, that's because it is. Davis is having a phenomenal season and all the Spurs will be able to do is slow him down. The only way he'll have a bad game is if he just misses shots, and even then he can still affect the game in so many ways.

In that first game, the Spurs only had 15 assists, and had 18 total turnovers. Tony Parker, although he scored well, struggled mightily with keeping the ball away from the other team, giving it up 5 times himself. San Antonio has struggled with ball control a bit this year, but 18 turnovers is a ton, and some of those should turn into assists in this second game.

Scoring will be difficult when both Davis and Omer Asik are in the game together. Those two combine to make one of the best post-defense tandems in the league, and their ability to defend the rim will gum up the Spurs' pick-and-roll attack. However, when Asik comes out, the Pelicans' defensive ability goes down significantly. They usually replace him by sliding Davis to the 5 and bringing in Ryan Anderson at the 4, or will bring in Alexis Ajinca at the 5. Expect the Spurs to run whoever replaces him through a bunch of picks and go at them in the post to try and open something up for the offense.

@

New Orleans Pelicans (14-14)

San Antonio Spurs (18-12)

December 26, 2014

Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

7:00 PM CDT

TV: FSSW

Radio: WOAI 1200AM

Starters

Jrue Holiday

PG

Tony Parker

Luke Babbitt

SG

Danny Green

Tyreke Evans

SF

Marco Belinelli

Anthony Davis

PF

Tiago Splitter

Omer Asik

C

Tim Duncan


For the Pelicans' perspective, visit The Bird Writes.

Game prediction: Spurs by 7.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and you can get your San Antonio Spurs tickets from Daniel Farias with Spurs Sports & Entertainment: Tel: 210-444-5607 | dfarias@attcenter.com