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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at New Orleans Pelicans

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The Spurs look to push their win streak to 7 in The Big Easy.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans headed into this season with high hopes to build upon an impressive playoff berth the year before. Aside from the addition of Kendrick Perkins, their roster effectively stood pat. Many believed that Anthony Davis' development, Alvin Gentry's offensive acumen, and team-wide sustained health were all that was necessary to lock a Pelican playoff spot.

And yet here we are, 12 games into the season, with New Orleans sitting at a 1-11 record. Look at just about any statistic and it tells the tale of this disastrous season - they lose by nearly 10 points a game! So what's caused these problems?

The injury bug has bitten, and bitten hard. Kendrick Perkins is out at least two months. No one knows when Quincy Pondexter will return. Tyreke Evans hopes to play in two weeks. Omer Asik and Anthony Davis were sidelined for a few. Jrue Holiday's minutes are heavily limited. Because of all of these injuries, the Pelicans were forced to start Luke Babbitt, Alexis Ajinca, and Ish Smith in a professional, regular season NBA game that they were actually trying to win.

Over the summer, GM Dell Demps hired Darren Erman as the defensive coordinator to bolster a New Orleans defense that was a putrid 22nd in the NBA in defensive efficiency last year. We've seen a pretty significant difference in results so far - for the worse. The Pelicans allow the most points per game in the entire league. Think about that, guys. A team with Omer Asik, Jrue Holiday, Alonzo Gee, and Anthony friggin' Davis has the worst defense in the league.

They don't have the offensive versatility to crawl out of the cellar unless their defense can improve. However, it's hard to believe that the Pelicans will remain in their current standing for long for three reasons: 1) they've had the fifth toughest schedule thus far; 2) their defense will likely improve (they have nowhere to go but up); and 3) the injuries have to stop at some point, right?! Reinforcements in the form of Evans and Pondexter will arrive over the next few months to lessen the offensive turd that AD, Ryan Anderson, and Eric Gordon have tried to polish over the first dozen games.

Matchup to watch: Duncan vs. Davis. Over the past few years, Duncan's production has tended to plummet against athletic big men, and you don't get much more athletic than AD. As you would expect, Davis averages a cool 19.5 points along with 10.5 boards, 2.6 blocks, and 2 steals against the Spurs. It'll be interesting to witness what may very well be one of the final battles between the GOATPUFF and the man who hopes to one day usurp that role.

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San Antonio Spurs (9-2)

New Orleans Pelicans (1-11)

November 20, 2015

Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

7:00 PM CDT

TV: KENS HD/ESPN

Starters

Tony Parker

PG

Jrue Holiday

Danny Green

SG

Eric Gordon

Kawhi Leonard

SF

Alonzo Gee

LaMarcus Aldridge

PF

Anthony Davis

Tim Duncan

C

Omer Asik

Game prediction: Spurs by 8.

For the Pelican's perspective, visit The Bird Writes.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher.