The New Orleans Pelicans (16-25) finish up their East Coast road trip in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matchup against the Indiana Pacers (20-19).
Over the summer, the Indiana Pacers replaced longtime coach Frank Vogel with NBA lifer Nate McMillan in an attempt to modernize and develop the team’s offense around wing superstar Paul George. So far, it has worked, and the team represents a much more fightable battle for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Besides George, the Pacers have a good deal of offensive talent, which has helped make McMillan’s job easier. Thaddeus Young, Jeff Teague, and a deep bench fill out a roster capable of playing small or big, offensive or defensive. The Pelicans play similarly, so tonight will probably be a close matchup.
However, all eyes are on the front court, if we’re being honest. Myles Turner represents one of the only men in the league capable of standing up to Anthony Davis, both in size and style. He is a dominant rim protector; there is data showing that big men are more dependable as shot-changers and miss-creators, and Turner rates well here.
He allows a mere 52% on shots within six feet, generally thought to be the most desirable shots in the game, and ones that players are generally more efficient in making. Even Anthony Davis, who is the NBA’s blocks per game leader, allows opposing players to shoot 56.4% within six feet. Turner is good.
In addition to his paint presence on defense, he is scoring 15.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per contest in less than 30 minutes. Operating most often as the only traditional big man (Young and George play quite a bit of power forward), he does what he must to keep the Pacers even in down-low micro-matchups.
Then again, Anthony Davis blows all of that to smithereens against even the most elite big man matchups. He cannot be stopped, but the Pacers’ breadth of options might just be an intriguing foil for what Davis generally tries to do.
Who, When, Where and How to Watch
When and Where: The game will be played at 3:00 p.m. CT in Indianapolis.
How To Watch: The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports New Orleans and NBATV.
New Orleans: Quincy Pondexter(Left Knee) is out. Anthony Davis (Left Hip) is questionable.
Indiana: Rodney Stuckey (Hamstring) is questionable.