Pelicans-Spurs Preview

BY foxsports • March 29, 2016

Gregg Popovich has the luxury of resting his stars and more often than not still having enough talent for San Antonio to succeed. It's something Alvin Gentry certainly envies.

New Orleans sits 34 1/2 games behind the Spurs in large part because numerous contributors from last year's playoff team have succumbed to injuries throughout the season, and Gentry is open to anything that will end the so-called curse.

Whatever lineup Popovich trots out Wednesday night in an attempt to win a 47th straight home game likely will look better than the Pelicans', which won't include Jrue Holiday after he was lost for the season.

The Spurs (62-12) have continued the tradition of sitting Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili in certain situations toward the end of the regular season so they can better handle the playoff demands in their advanced ages. Popovich also sat stars Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge in Saturday's loss at Oklahoma City.

Aldridge was the only one of the five who played in Monday's 101-87 win at Memphis, and he finished with 31 points and 13 rebounds. David West dressed but got the night off as all 10 Spurs who entered the game scored.

''LaMarcus was great,'' Popovich said. ''After a few days' rest, he looked spry and ready to go.''

Popovich hasn't tipped his hand about who will be available against the Pelicans (27-46). The Spurs don't play again until Saturday against Toronto, which would give Duncan, Parker and Ginobili more than a week away from game action if they don't dress for this contest.

''It's all based on the schedule and how many minutes they've played,'' Popovich said. ''Three in four nights. Back-to-backs. It doesn't matter who we are playing. That's not what we do with it. We don't pick games out.''

Gentry isn't nearly as relaxed about his situation a year after serving as an assistant on the title-winning Warriors.

Anthony Davis has been shut down for the season to have surgery on his left knee after sporadically missing time earlier. Tyreke Evans has played only 25 games because of knee issues and isn't expected to play again, and the Pelicans lost Eric Gordon for good to a fractured right ring finger earlier this month.

Norris Cole is day to day with lower back soreness and Ryan Anderson is still nursing a sports hernia, but Holiday returned after a two-game absence from a toe injury and finished with 22 points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals in Monday's 99-91 win over New York.

Holiday, though, suffered a fractured right orbital bone during a collision with 56.1 seconds remaining and will miss the final nine games, adding to Gentry's frustration.

''I'm going to send out an all-points bulletin to anybody in the French Quarter or anywhere else - we need a voodoo doctor or something here,'' said Gentry, who has penciled in 36 different starting lineups. ''We've got to find the bones under this place or do something.''

The Spurs are off to the best home start in NBA history (37-0) and haven't lost a regular-season home game since March 12 of last year. They beat New Orleans 110-97 at AT&T Center on Feb. 3 behind a season-high 36 points from Aldridge.

Leonard had 30 points and 11 rebounds while Aldridge added 26 in a 94-86 win on March 3.

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