Start time: 7:00 PM
The trade deadline has come and gone, the Bobcats now without Ramon Sessions and Jeff Adrien instead for Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour. Though the Bobcats will look slightly different from this, and while we might see some different rotations, the team should for the most part play the same.
Anthony Davis is a name that everybody needs to get used to hearing often because he's going to be around for a long time. Davis is having a historically great season for a sophomore on the level of a young Kevin Garnett. Averaging 20 points a game on 52 percent shooting, he is incredibly difficult for even the top defenders in the NBA to guard and he's not even 22 yet. Davis can post you up, dunk on you, or put the ball on the floor and embarrass you. Davis is on his way to being the next NBA superstar.
As great as Davis is, the Pelicans themselves have had a rough year. They were a fringe pick to make the playoffs this season but things just haven't gone as planned. Some of the problem has been injuries to key players, such as Ryan Anderson, and some of it has been that they're not getting good basketball out of the players they were hoping for. Tyreke Evans comes to mind as a player that has been very disappointing this season.
The Pelicans offense has potential to give the Bobcats problems with a lot of pick and roll and off ball screens. The Bobcats big men usually play back to try and protect the rim, though this of course opens up the mid range game. The Bobcats are okay with that, but the Pelicans off ball screens might cause some of those perimeter guys to chase a bit, which will cause some confusion. This could lead to some open looks. This is how the Pelicans destroyed the Bobcats last time. I wrote about that and looking back on it now, it was all because of the off ball screens causing chaos.
Of course, that was November. We're in February and things are very different. The Pelicans are much more beat up and the Bobcats are playing their best ball of the season. For the evolving Bobcats, they're at home against a struggling team. If they want to continue taking that next step towards being a legitimate playoff team, they have to win games like this. This isn't a must win or anything, but it would look really nice.