Rockets-Pelicans Preview


Points have been hard to come by for the injury-plagued New Orleans Pelicans, who haven't tasted victory in nearly two weeks.

Now they face the difficult task of trying to keep up with the high-scoring Houston Rockets.

The Pelicans try to snap a season-high six-game losing streak Wednesday night when they host the Rockets, winners in five of six in the series.

Out indefinitely with a herniated disk, Ryan Anderson, who averages a team-leading 19.8 points, has been sorely missed. New Orleans (15-22) has averaged 93.0 in dropping all six contests during his absence, 8.4 fewer than its season mark.

The Pelicans, who last won Jan. 3, saw their woes continue Monday in a 101-95 loss to San Antonio. Anthony Davis had 22 points and 11 rebounds and Brian Roberts scored a season-high 19 in his third consecutive start while filling in for injured point guard Jrue Holiday, who is out with a stress fracture in his leg.

"We really don't like moral victories, but we came in and competed," Roberts said." Unfortunately, they made plays down the stretch."

The Pelicans have also been without Tyreke Evans (sprained ankle) for the last two games, leaving his status for Wednesday unclear.

"That is our goal right now to just keep getting better and to take it one game at a time and one day at a time," guard Austin Rivers said. "(We will) come into practice (Tuesday) focused, then we have Houston, another great team. After that Golden State, another great team. We are in the West. Every team is going to be challenging."

The Pelicans have also had a rough go against the Rockets (25-14), posting 88.8 points per game during a 1-5 stretch in the series. They fell 107-98 in Houston on Dec. 28 despite a combined 40 points and 28 boards from Anderson and Davis.

Dwight Howard, however, finished with 24 and 18 and James Harden scored 21.

Howard is coming off another big effort, posting 32 points and 11 rebounds in Monday's 104-92 win at Boston. The All-Star center made just 6 of 14 free throws in the fourth quarter, but the Rockets, who are one of the league's highest scoring teams at 105.3 points per game, held on for their fourth win in five contests.

"We've got confidence in Dwight to make those free throws when they start doing that, so I thought it was a real good win for us," said Chandler Parsons, who had 14 points in his first game back since missing three with a knee injury. "But it wasn't perfect."

With Howard struggling from the line, Houston's 20-point lead was cut to seven with just under three minutes left.

"We are getting a lot of experience on that, getting a lead and then giving it up," coach Kevin McHale said. "We are getting better at that."

Jeremy Lin also came up big, compiling 16 points while shooting 5 of 7 to go along with nine assists. The Rockets, who had 24 assists as a team, have won 14 of their last 16 when recording at least 17.

"I thought Jeremy had a really good game," McHale said. "I thought he pushed the ball, I thought he broke down their defense early. ... That's when we're at our best, when we're on top of them before they get set. He made some nice passes and he did a good job of getting Dwight involved.

"We had some really good ball movement, and did some really good stuff out there, getting back to how we have to play basketball. It's nice, we just have to keep doing it."

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