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Four-Pointer: Previewing the Pelicans

Coming off a triple-overtime victory against Chicago, New Orleans hopes to continue their winning ways without star big man Anthony Davis.

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

What did New Orleans do over the summer?

Well, for starters, they changed their name.  The Hornets, formerly located in Charlotte, have become the Pelicans, assuming a more regionally-fitting(I guess?) identity and possibly allowing the Bobcats, currently in Charlotte, the opening to change to the Hornets.  That is if the Bobcats -- a struggling franchise at almost every level -- aren't moved somewhere like Seattle, which used to have the Supersonics until they moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder, in large part due to the success the New Orleans Hornets franchise had attracting fans when they temporarily played in Oklahoma City during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Oh, and the Pelicans signed Tyreke Evans.

What has New Orleans done lately?

On Monday they won in triple-overtime against the Rose-less Chicago Bulls.  It was essentially their second straight win without Anthony Davis(who played 10 minutes before his injury against the Knicks), and third straight overall.  After starting the year 3-6, New Orleans has now peeked its head over .500 and they are hoping to stay awhile.

What Pelicans player is poised for the proverbial "pounce"?

Ryan Anderson has picked up the slack in Anthony Davis' absence.  It might have gone under the radar a little, but Anthony Davis was playing at a superstar (yes, superstar) level before going down.  Replacing him was no easy task, but the Pelicans are one of the few teams equipped with a backup forward capable of doing so.  After lighting up a tough defensive Bulls team for 36(his second straight 30+ night) I would imagine he's salivating at the thought of facing Dallas.  Expect threes early and often, delivered with the grenade launcher style shooting stroke that serves as the backbone of Anderson's potent offensive attack.

What do the Mavs need to do to win against the Pelicans?

Containing Anderson would be a good start.  New Orleans also has quality guard depth, led by Eric Gordon, who beat Dallas with an and-one in overtime the last time these teams met in the regular season, and Jrue Holiday.  The Pelicans are tied for second in the NBA in team three-point shooting.  They also have the NBA's best turnover differential, though undoubtedly a big part of creating turnovers was Anthony Davis.  Still, New Orleans won't likely beat themselves with miscues, so it will on Dallas to limit their mistakes, as well.  Overall, removing Davis from the picture leaves these two teams looking fairly similar in terms of style and talent.  Anderson is playing like a younger Dirk at the moment, even if that label feels wrong, and Calderon, Ellis and Carter have a similar output to Holiday, Gordon and Evans.  Both squads can put points on the board and give up a few, as well.  We may be in for a fun game.