The Boston Celtics are searching for their ninth win in a row as they continue on their road trip into New Orleans to take on a Pelicans team that’s won their last three. It won’t be easy by any means, as these teams are pretty even in regards to production.
Let’s “open up the files” and preview this game.
A touch of good news. Marcus Smart and Malcolm Brogdon have both been upgraded and there is a chance we’ll see them play this weekend. Smart is now questionable for tonight’s game while Brogdon is probable.
The Celtics and Pelicans have extremely similar offensive numbers, which will make this game even more interesting and fun to watch!
Celtics Shooting Splits & Stats
– 42.5 RPG
– 26.4 APG
Pelicans Shooting Splits & Stats
– 45.2 RPG
– 27.2 APG
The Celtics bench has been the difference maker in these recent games. However they’re still middle of the pack in comparison to the other second units in the NBA, but they compliment the starters well and pick up what they lack- it’s really impressive to watch.
Celtics Bench Stats
– 34.3 PPG (13th)
– 15.1 RPG (17th)
– 7.3 APG (18th)
– 50.7 FG% (2nd)
– 44.6 3P% (1st)
Pelicans Bench Stats
– 31.9 PPG (23rd)
– 15.5 RPG (15th)
– 9.2 APG (6th)
– 47.9 FG% (3rd)
– 38.3 3P% (4th)
The way this game is set up, it almost seems like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will need to have an iconic game as the lethal pair we know them to be. Continuing to stay efficient in their shot selections and getting to the line will be key in helping win this game.
If we’re nitpicking, Tatum has struggled from deep this season, despite what his 36.8 percent might represent. In fact, Tatum is 4-19 over his last two games from behind the arc. He needs to do better at acknowledging when his shot isn’t falling and when he should drive to the hoop.
Tatum and Brown will need to keep up with the scoring production of CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram, who are both hovering around 20 points per game this season.
The Celtics will do their best to contain Jonas Valanciunas but I don’t foresee them being able to compete with his production, especially on the rebounding front.
It’s also unknown if Zion Williamson will be available and it’s looking like he’ll be a gametime decision.
The Celtics and Pelicans play tonight at 8:30PM for a Friday night showcase at the Smoothie King Center.
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Photo Credit: Brian Babineau, NBAE Getty Images