The San Antonio Spurs are set to face the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday, Nov. 21. Let’s preview what may happen.
On Wednesday night, the San Antonio Spurs will play its 18th game of the 2017-18 season against the New Orleans Pelicans. It will be on the road, meaning the Silver and Black head outside of San Antonio, TX, for the first time in almost one week.
Entering this game, the Spurs have an 11-6 record, with their latest matchup happening against the Atlanta Hawks. It resulted in a win, 96-85, with LaMarcus Aldridge and Kyle Anderson as the standout performers.
The Pelicans may be a tougher task than the Hawks, standing at a record of 9-8. What needs to be known before this game starts?
Let’s preview the night’s action, and what the Spurs must to do win. But, before that, here is the game info:
Date: Wednesday, Nov. 21 Time: 8:00 p.m. ET Location: San Antonio, TX Venue: AT&T Center TV Info: FSNO, FSSW Live Stream: NBA League Pass
That means the Spurs vs. Pelicans will only be available to watch on location networks. If not, you will need a subscription to NBA League Pass. That limits the people able to see this game, unless you a fee for the streaming service.
As for the injuries, Kawhi Leonard (quad), Tony Parker (quad) and Derrick White (wrist) will all miss Wednesday’s game in New Orleans. None of them have an official timetable to return.
Aside from the game information, let’s dive into the keys to this matchup.
Next: Factor No. 1 and 2
The Unmoveable Objects
The San Antonio Spurs will be tasked with defending Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins — two of the NBA’s best big men. Both can score from all parts of the floor, including 3-point territory. That only makes them more dangerous, especially as Cousins takes more than seven shots from behind the arc per game.
Davis and Cousins combined for 52.4 points and 24.2 rebounds per game through the first 17 matchups of the season. No pair of players on the Spurs can cross 40 points and 20 rebounds per game.
Aldridge and Pau Gasol will obviously have their hands full, chasing them back-and-forth on the court. Will they keep either Davis or Cousins in check? Maybe not, so it will take more than just the Spurs’ leading scorer to pull ahead of these elite big men.
Force the Pelicans to shoot from long distance
While the Pelicans are one of the NBA’s best from inside the arc (48.1 percent), they’re one of the worst from beyond it at 34.3 percent. It’s the sixth-lowest mark in the NBA, with teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies as two of the worst.
Getting the Pelicans outside the arc is easier said than done, as their offense revolves around Cousins and Davis, who dominate near the rim. That may mean giving Jrue Holiday anything he wants, given his 22.1 percent mark from long distance, along with four attempts per game.
It doesn’t help that New Orleans rosters Rajon Rondo, either, who’s notorious for not being able to shoot 3-pointers (and free throws). So, this offense has its limitations, even with two of the league’s best players around.
Next: Factor No. 3 and 4
Wreak havoc on defense
The next key to the game is wreaking havoc on defense. New Orleans turns the ball over 16.6 times per game — tied for the fourth-worst mark in the NBA. However, the Spurs aren’t exactly a turnover-forcing team, allowing just 14.4 per game for the fifth-lowest number.
Over the past three games, teams have turned the ball over against the Spurs in single digits, twice. This resulted in one win and one loss.
Could this be a game to capitalize on the length of Dejounte Murray and the Spurs’ big men? If so, look for pressure to be placed on Holiday, along with Cousins’ turnover-prone style (he gives it up 5.1 times per game)
Pace of play
The Spurs and Pelicans’ game paces will collide on Wednesday night. According to Basketbell-Reference, San Antonio plays at the slowest pace in the NBA, with a Pace Factor of 95.1. New Orleans, however, ranks at No. 7, with a mark of 100.4.
Which side will conform to the others’ style? The Spurs have the ability to run, with the athleticism of Aldridge, Murray, Danny Green and Patty Mills. However, Kyle Anderson, Pau Gasol and Manu Ginobili aren’t exactly built for a fast-paced game. So, if it goes the Pelicans’ way, could head coach Gregg Popovich attempt a different look at his rotation?