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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs @ New Orleans Pelicans

The Spurs swing by the Big Easy to battle a big who's not so easy.

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs @ New Orleans Pelicans

Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA
March 3, 2016, 7:00 p.m. Spurs Time

I wrote a game preview for a Spurs-Pelicans game in late November. At that point, New Orleans rocked a putrid 1-11 record. The Pelicans have floated around 10 games under .500 the whole season, and I could - quite frankly - copy and paste all of their problems I discussed last time without anyone batting an eye. Hey, you know what, let's just do that.

"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 BabbittAlexis Ajinca, and Ish Smith in a professional, regular season NBA game that they were actually trying to win."

Yup, not much has changed. As of this moment, AD is dealing with some toe issues and Asik is out for about another week with an ankle issue. Oh, and Tyreke, Pondexter and up-and-coming guard Bryce Dejean-Jones are all out for the rest of the season with some more serious injuries.

"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."

Hey, they don't allow the most points in the league anymore! It's now only the... 5th worst in the league, but, hmm... how about that defensive efficiency, right? That must be -- well 27th isn't that bad, right? OK, I'll stop talking about their defense now.

Sure, they may be only 6 games out of the 8 seed, but that's more a function of the mediocrity of the bottom 8 teams in the West than anything else. At this point, the Pelican front office shouldn't push for a run at that final playoff spot - one week of demoralizing blowouts in the postseason isn't worth falling a few spots in the draft. Heading into the offseason, Pelicans' GM Dell Demps should make sure his core is healthy for next year and tank for better lottery position. And what better time is there to start tanking than when they face the Spurs twice this month? *cough* *nudge* *wink*

Matchup to watch: Duncan vs. Davis. If DeAndre Jordan taught us anything last postseason, it's that athletic big men can give The Big Fundamental problems. Davis is about as big and athletic as they come, with post skills and a jump shot to boot. The Pelicans have been a tough matchup for the Spurs because The Brow is a matchup nightmare for the good guys. Limiting Davis will require one of Timmy's best defensive efforts.


San Antonio Spurs

(Record: 51-9)

New Orleans Pelicans

(Record: 23-36)

March 3, 2016

Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

7:00 PM CDT



Tony Parker


Norris Cole

Danny Green


Eric Gordon

Kawhi Leonard


Alonzo Gee

LaMarcus Aldridge


Anthony Davis

Tim Duncan


Alexis Ajinca

Game prediction: Spurs by 8.

For the Pelicans' perspective, visit The Bird Writes.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher.