Game Previews

Celtics-Pelicans Preview: The Return of Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis is back and better than ever heading into tonight’s matchup against the Celtics at the Smoothie King Center.

Davis scored 39 points while hauling in 13 rebounds and 8 blocks against Detroit in his first game back from a right shoulder sprain that kept him out of the past five games. In the only other meeting between the Pelicans and the Celtics this season, Davis scored 34 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

“The trainers and doctors did a great job of protecting it,” Davis told the team’s official website. “I wasn’t trying to think about it. I knew they did a great job of getting it strong, as best as they can for this game. I’ll probably feel it (Thursday). In the game, it felt great.”

Brandon Bass will be given the task to try and limit Davis. Bass is a solid defender and a pretty decent shot-blocker, but Bass’s size could be his downfall. Bass is only 6’8 which is pretty small for a power forward. He has a hard time fighting for rebounds, and that shouldn’t change tonight as he will have to battle under the rim against Davis who is 6’10 and Omer Asikwho is 7’0. Look for a big rebounding night from Davis.

Today is Marcus Smart’s birthday, and he is looking to celebrate it with a win in New Orleans tonight. Smart was awarded Rookie of the Month for February. He deserved it too, scoring 9.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. Smart will be starting at point guard tonight for the Celtics.

Norris Cole will be guarding Smart tonight. Cole was traded to the Pelicans right before the deadline and has already made a large impact on the team. Cole is averaging 7.6 points and 3.6 assists per game in his 7 games in a Pelicans uniform. Cole has played against the Celtics twice this season and averaged 9.5 ppg and 4 apg. Cole should be able to use his speed to limit Marcus Smart’s scoring, and will use his great court vision to keep his teammates scoring.

In his first meeting against the Celtics this season, Pelicans point guard Tyreke Evans scored 19 points and grabbed 8 assists. Evans is red hot coming into this one averaging 20 points in the month of March, playing point guard in the absence of his teammate Jrue Holiday.

“I don’t know the issue with Jrue when he comes back, but I’ll be glad to have him back,” Evans said. “We work well with each other. While he’s out right now, I’m playing the point for the first time since my rookie year and I am trying to hold it down for us to get a lot of wins.”

Recently acquired point guard Isaiah Thomas will be matched up against Evans tonight. Thomas has been great coming off the bench so far for Boston averaging 20.1 points and 5.4 assists per game in his time in a Celtics uniform. Thomas should be able to not only limit Evans’s scoring but he could have a huge scoring night, because although Evans dominates the defensive boards due to his reach, he is not a great defender, and Thomas should be able to take advantage of that tonight.

Prediction: Pelicans 101 Celtics 96

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From New Jersey, Griffin is a huge Celtics Fan. He started rooting for the Celtics when Kevin Garnett came to Boston, but he's also a big fan of Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk.
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