Pelicans at Thunder (8pm ET Wednesday, ESPN)
Alvin Gentry was brought into New Orleans to give the Pelicans the kind of offensive scheme he helped build for the Warriors’ championship run. Eleven games in, it ain’t working: the team finds itself at 1-10 following a 115-98 loss against Denver on Tuesday, with a point differential of -9.9. Worse than the loss of the game was the loss of Anthony Davis, who left the game midway through the first quarter with a shoulder injury. He joined the team for the flight to Oklahoma City, but his status for tonight remains up in the air. Davis has already hoisted as many threes this season as he had in his previous 105 regular season games. He’s hitting them at a respectable clip of 36.8%, but he’s also turning the ball over (2.7 per game) at nearly twice his career pace.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are 6-5 following a 122-114 loss to the Grizzlies, as Russell Westbrook’s 40-point night wasn’t enough to make up for the absence of Kevin Durant, who is nursing a hamstring injury suffered last week against the Wizards. “You can re-injure them pretty easily if you try and play through it, or as we say now, ‘Be tough.’ I call that being dumb,” Durant said over the weekend.
Bulls vs. Suns (10:30pm ET Wednesday, ESPN)
The Chicago Bulls are 7-3 after Jimmy Butler blocked Paul George’s potential game-winner to seal a 96-95 victory over the Pacers. Butler has been the man for Chicago, leading the way with 19.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. Unfortunately, Derrick Rose’s vision remains blurry following an orbital bone fracture that has him wearing a mask, and word is that it could remain bad for months, according to Coach Fred Hoiberg. After posting an effective field goal percentage of .488 over his first three seasons, Rose’s EFG dropped to .455 over the next four injury-ravaged seasons (a total of 100 games). This year, with the mask and vision issues, his EFG’s fallen through the floor to .387, as he’s made just 3 of 20 3-pointers. However, he did go 9-for-18 the other night against Indiana, including 2-for-2 from 3-point land, so maybe he’s adjusting. Of course, Rose sprained his ankle in the waning minutes of that game, and will not play tonight.
Following Monday’s 120-101 drubbing of the lowly Lakers, the Phoenix Suns have now won their last three games, to bring their record to 6-4. The Suns guard duo of Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight has been a force, as they are two of just nine guys in the NBA averaging better than 20 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. The Suns are hopeful that Markieff Morris will be back in the lineup, after sitting out the last two games with a sore knee.