The San Antonio Spurs (62-12) are looking to continue their home winning streak against the severely depleted New Orleans Pelicans (27-46).
Spurs vs. Pelicans is always a fascinating matchup. This time, the Pelicans are without critical contributors like Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday due to injuries. The Spurs may be limiting the minutes of certain starters to rest for the playoffs, especially against a significantly weaker opponent like the Pelicans.
Some keys to victory tonight:
With the team looking on towards the playoffs, this meeting has the characteristics of a trap game for the Spurs. Even a primary lineup of second unit players should be able to beat this Pelicans team, but they need to show up completely focused on the task at hand.
–Establish a Low-post Presence
With Davis out, it severely limits the rim-protection and defensive rebounding capabilities of the Pelicans. Omer Asik is going to be without significant frontcourt help on defense, as Ryan Anderson is also out with a sports hernia injury. Look for some combination of Tim Duncan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Boris Diaw, and David West to take advantage of the Pelicans’ injuries.
–Slow the Game Down
The Pelicans aren’t a particularly great shooting team, but they rank 8th in field goals attempted per game. If possessions are limited, then the Pelicans likely won’t put up many points against this stout Spurs defense
Spurs win 105-85. This will likely be a game comprised largely of backups, and the Spurs’ bench will overwhelm the Pelicans’ reserves forced to step into starters’ minutes.