The New Orleans Pelicans will try to match their longest winning streak of the season at three straight when they host the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday. The Pelicans clamped down defensively for a change while winning the last two legs of a four-game road trip at Orlando and Miami, winning both by double digits.
They now hope to maintain some momentum in a favorable homestand against the Nets, Dallas and what could be a road-weary New York Knicks squad. “We got back to were we wanted to be defensively,” center DeMarcus Cousins told reporters at practice Tuesday. “I think we gained our confidence back defensively. ... I think we got back to playing the way we wanted to play in the beginning. We kind of got away from that in some of the previous games, but we kind of got back to our ways. Hopefully we can carry that over in this next homestand.” The Nets have dropped six of their last seven and the first two games of a five-game road trip. They got to the foul line for a season-low nine attempts and struggled to overcome a 16-point first quarter in Tuesday’s 109-97 loss at San Antonio.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, YES (Brooklyn), FSN New Orleans
ABOUT THE NETS (12-21): Point guard Spencer Dinwiddie has filled the massive voids left behind by injuries in Brooklyn’s backcourt and he’s playing some of his best basketball early in the road trip. The 24-year-old is averaging 19 points and 7.5 assists in the first two games of the swing while making 7-of-13 3-pointers and turning the ball over one time in a total of 65 minutes. Caris LeVert had a team-high 18 points against the Spurs and is 9-for-13 from long range over a four-game stretch.
ABOUT THE PELICANS (17-16): Reserve guard Ian Clark provided a rare boost with a season-high 19 points in Saturday’s 109-94 win at Miami, making 5-of-7 3-pointers. Darius Miller added 12 points off the bench as Cousins and fellow star Anthony Davis were able to limit their workload prior to a three-day break. “I thought we did a good job offensively of finding the open guy,” coach Alvin Gentry told reporters. “DeMarcus only took seven shots. A.D. took less than 10 (actually 11).”
1. Cousins is averaging 26.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.3 steals at home.
2. The Nets have lost five straight games in the second half of back-to-backs.
3. The teams split two meetings last season and Brooklyn won 143-114 in the second encounter Jan. 20.
PREDICTION: Pelicans 117, Nets 101