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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. New Orleans Pelicans

The Spurs can win their fourth game in a row and second against the Peli—oh, who cares IT’S TIM DUNCAN NIGHT!

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Despite Anthony Davis putting up some fairly superhuman numbers (30.2 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.8 blocks, 1.6 steals per game), the Pelicans appear destined for another trip to the lottery. They gave up a record-breaking night to the Rockets on Friday, who have emerged as fringe contenders thanks in no small part to two of their own former players. And worse yet, Davis got dinged up in the rout.

The 23-year-old big man was one of just a handful of can’t-miss first-round picks that have come around in the last two decades, a transcendent talent that New Orleans could build a contender around. And, of course, he still is. Things just haven’t gone to plan in so far.

Their 22-point loss to Houston notwithstanding, the Pels have had some promising play as of late, beating the Pacers and almost stealing one from the Warriors. Part of the success has come from upping their pace and playing a bit looser. Alvin Gentry’s giving the green light to fire away to guys like Langston Galloway, who’s taken 24 threes over the past three games.

There have also been a few shakeups in the lineup since San Antonio and New Orleans last met, with Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans both back (the latter on a minutes restriction) and Omer Asik collecting DNP-CDs.

Whether or not Davis suits up, tonight ultimately belongs to the totemic big man he was often compared to. The Spurs are raising Duncan’s number 21 into the rafters, and that’ll be the main reason to watch tonight. Hopefully the ceremony will happen on the back of a comfortable Spurs W.

San Antonio Spurs (21-5) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (9-19)

Dec. 18, 2016 | 6:00 CST
Watch: FSSW Listen: 1200 AM WOAI

Spurs injuries: None?

Pelicans injuries: Anthony Davis (leg), Tyreke Evans (knee), Quincy Pondexter (Knee), Dante Cunningham (Knee), Solomon Hill (personal)

Details on the TD Retirement Ceremony:

Don’t forget to stay after the credits to catch the ceremony honoring Duncan. Those watching at home can see it broadcast on FSSW and on the Fox Sports Go app.

Pelicans short-handed, again

Versatile wing Tyreke Evans is back after missing the beginning of the season with a knee injury, but he won’t likely see more than 15 minutes tonight. The Pels will also be without key role players Quincy Pondexter and Dante Cunningham, while Solomon Hill may or may not miss another game due to personal reasons.

The bigger issue as of writing this is the state of Davis, who didn’t appear well in the team’s loss to Houston. Davis temporarily left the game and didn’t look right when he returned. It’s being called a leg contusion right now, which isn’t serious, but should give New Orleans some pause as they monitor the health of their franchise star.

Owning the defensive glass

The Pelicans are third-to-last in the league in rebound differential, mostly due to a minimal presence on the offensive glass. If the Spurs clean up on the glass, as they should, and control the pace against what’s mostly an inefficient offense, they should be able to comfortably get the W. DO IT FOR TIMMY.

Vegas line: Spurs by 10.

Game prediction: Spurs by 15.

For the Pelicans fans' perspective, visit The Bird Writes.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher.

PtR's Gamethread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. You can also follow along with the action through PtR's Twitter feed.