The Pelicans enter tonight with a 22-27 record on the year, winners of two straight games. However, no two divisions in the NBA have a more dramatic difference in quality than the Nets' Atlantic division and the Pelicans' Southwest division.
At 22-26, the Nets are in second place, 3.0 games behind first-place Toronto, the only team in the Atlantic with a winning record. The Pelicans, with a virtually identical record to Brooklyn, are dead last in the Southwest. In fact, of the five Southwest division teams, the Pelicans are the only team that doesn't have a winning record.
Nevertheless, New Orleans is a pretty good team playing pretty good basketball of late, having won seven of their last 10 games following an eight-game losing streak.
The Pelicans are led by 20-year-old big man Anthony Davis, who was recently named to his first career All-Star game.
It'll likely be the first of many for the emerging superstar, who leads the NBA with 3.2 blocks per game. No other player averages over 2.5 BPG.
Davis is also averaging a team-high 20.7 points per game and 10.4 rebounds per game, and it seems that the sky is the limit for his NBA potential.
Key Matchup: Keeping Davis in check will be crucial for Brooklyn, and it's likely going to be a job for Kevin Garnett, who returns to the Nets lineup tonight after getting the night off for rest on Friday. Brooklyn is 21-21 when KG plays, and 1-5 when he sits.
Player to Watch: Shaun Livingston has provided great minutes alongside Deron Williams in the Nets' small lineup. The Nets are 14-5 in Livingston's last 19 starts.