Game Preview: New Orleans Pelicans Battle Milwaukee Bucks

The New Orleans Pelicans will take on the Milwaukee Bucks for the second time this season, still searching for win number one, nine games through.

The New Orleans Pelicans have had a day off to rest from their back-to-back losses on Monday and Tuesday.

Now, they prepare for their second battle of the year against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Once again, the Pelicans’ search for win number one will go through a young, physical roster that is rising up to the occasion this season.

The Bucks are 4-3, riding their young stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker along the way.

The Pelicans will look to get their own young players going in a game they need. In their last game against the Bucks, the starters played well on offense. Anthony Davis had a strong game, while his supporting cast helped the team stay tight all game.

However, the defense destroyed any hope of a win being found against the Bucks. The Pelicans gave up 117 points in the last matchup. That will have to change in order for New Orleans to win tonight.

The most worrisome stat from game one was the Bucks’ role players putting on a show. Both Malcolm Brogdon and Michael Beasley put up at least 10 points in the last game and shot over 50% from the field. Greg Monroe gobbled up 11 rebounds and dished six assists from the paint. The Bucks role players put their stamp on the contest.

New Orleans will need to find an answer for that in order to find their first win of the campaign.

On the other side, the Pelicans bench scored just 19 points in the team’s last meeting. Yet, the bench has been the shining star of the past few games for New Orleans. For any chance at beating a strong Bucks team, the bench will need a much better performance tonight.

For New Orleans, this win would mean so much more than just a number on the standings. This is a team that looks more and more defeated with each passing loss. AD can not fathom what is happening right now. The team needs something to keep their moral and chemistry afloat.

Each game’s importance grows with every loss. The agony can end with a win tonight. It is up to the team to bring a strong game to end the losing streak.

Nov 1, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) is fouled by Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) on an attempted dunk during the third quarter of a game at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Who, When, Where and How to Watch

When and Where: The game will be played at 7:00 PM CST in Milwaukee.

How To Watch: The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports New Orleans and NBA League Pass.

Injuries: 

New OrleansJrue Holiday (Personal Reasons), Quincy Pondexter (Left Knee) and Tyreke Evans (Right Knee) are all out.

Milwaukee: Kris Middleton (Left Hamstring) is out.

Probably Starting Lineups:

New Orleans: PG Tim Frazier, SG E’Twaun Moore, SF Solomon Hill, PF Anthony Davis, C Omer Asik

Milwaukee: PG Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG Matthew Dellavedova, SF Tony Snell, PF Jabari Parker, C Miles Plumlee

Other Players to Watch: 

New OrleansBuddy HieldTerrence Jones, Dante Cunningham and Langston Galloway

Sacramento: Greg Monroe, John Henson, Rashad Vaughn, Malcolm Brogdon and Michael Beasley

What’s Next for the Pelicans?

The Pelicans will travel back home Saturday night to host the young Los Angeles Lakers. Tip is scheduled for 6:00 PM CST.

Nov 8, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) and guard Tim Frazier (2) look on during the fourth quarter of the game against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. The Sacramento Kings defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 102-94. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans’ Search For An Identity

The New Orleans Pelicans look like a team searching for who they really are.

One thing is clear watching them play…they have yet to find an identity as a team.

Some nights, the starters have great offensive nights. Other nights, it is the bench that commands the offensive firepower. There’s also the games Anthony Davis carries the scoring alone.

On defense, it’s a mix between each and every player. The defensive scheme is so much more an individual one than a team effort. That becomes a problem when the defense can collapse on one player’s poor defending in a certain stretch.

This does not feel like a roster united. The players individually are having good games, yet it does not matter when the team is not on the same page.

Forget pointing the blame for this one. Instead, the question that should be asked is what the actual identity of this team can really become.

The New Orleans Pelicans’ focus this offseason was for balance and team defense. Unfortunately, that has not translated to the regular season.

The offensive weight has been put heavily on Davis, Frazier and Moore to start the season. While the bench has its moments of balance with Hield, Jones and Galloway’s strong shooting, it is dependent on if they are actually making their jump shots.

A team that was meant for “balance” does not have many players that attack the rim. Even with their capable shooters, they are still struggling to find rhythm behind the arc, due to poor space and inconsistent options shooting the ball.

Putting it simply, the offense revolves around a team that is struggling to shoot, yet can not attack the basket. That will not work very often.

When it does, the problem moves to the defensive end. The Pelicans are full of players that are expected to handle whoever is switched to them on the pick and roll. While it’s a great philosophy, that only works when every player can handle each switch.

Teams have attacked the Pelicans on switches, specifically on post-ups mismatches with Tim Frazier and other guards that end up on the big men of opposing teams. It has led to plenty of easy points for opponents.

New Orleans is trying to identify themselves with balance, however the results have been everything but. For the team to have success in the future, they either need to prove they can develop the players into the system or change the plans. This year will tell the tale.

The New Orleans Pelicans are a team lacking identity, which is what a team needs most. While the Pelicans are trying to press a vision for the youngsters, it has not shown in the results. The management and ownership have high hopes for what this roster could become. However, for progress to happen and the team to start evolving, there has to be a certainty the players can fill the vision and that the identity fits who they actually are. If it is not the team’s true identity, then change needs to happen. The New Orleans Pelicans must develop their future around their players’ skills and talents, not their own wishes and dreams of what those players can become.

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