Spurs: 3 Keys to Ending the Pelicans' Season

Josh Richardson, Devonte' Graham
Josh Richardson, Devonte' Graham / Sean Gardner/GettyImages
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San Antonio Spurs
Jonas Valanciunas, Devontae Cacok / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

2. A Strong rebounding performance

On paper, the Pelicans don't jump off the page as an overly potent offense, ranking just 21st in points per game and 19th in offensive rating. But where they really hurt teams is on the boards. New Orleans is 3rd in offensive rebounding and was able to beat a lot of teams this year simply because they could create more looks at scoring than their opponent.

Conversely, the Pelicans rank just 24th in defensive rebounding. Since the Spurs are also an effective offensive rebounding team (7th), this is something they should look to exploit by sending several players to crash the glass throughout the game. Pop may want to make use of bigger lineups depending on other game factors.

Down low, Jakob Poeltl will battle it out for boards with Jonas Valanciunas. This will be an especially interesting matchup for Poeltl, as he'll be squaring off with the same big man that put up 23 points and 23 rebounds on him for Memphis in last year's play-in game. It's a matchup he'll need to contain a lot more this time around, and I believe he can.