Eric Gordon out vs. Heat with knee injury
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
News and updates from the Smoothie King Center prior to Saturday’s interconference game between Miami and New Orleans:
• After sitting out the second half of Friday’s game in Atlanta with left knee tendinitis, Pelicans shooting guard Eric Gordon will not play tonight against Miami. “He had a flare-up and that can hold you back,” Pelicans Coach Monty Williams said of the injury. “I feel bad for him, because he’s trying everything he can to get on the floor.”
• Williams said he will wait to see Miami’s starting lineup before he makes the decision on who will start in Gordon’s place for New Orleans. “We’re going to tweak our lineup based on what they do,” Williams said. “We’re still waiting to see what they do, and we can react to that.”
• Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra said Dwyane Wade and Greg Oden will not play tonight, the second of a back-to-back for Miami. Toney Douglas is starting in Wade’s place in the Heat backcourt.
• Williams on the biggest key tonight for the Pelicans: “Our passing. (The Heat) score off turnovers, so we’ve got to be really good at passing the ball. Obviously we have to score so we can set our defense, but we really have to control our turnovers.”
• Williams, asked if the Heat are in a “struggle” right now: “God, no. They’ve set the bar so high, anytime they have a blip on the screen, people call it a struggle. A lot of us would like to struggle like that. I just think everybody goes after them every single night. But the toughest thing is probably having Wade in and out of the lineup (for rest). But I don’t see them struggling. I see a team that always peaks at the right time and can win on the road. They’re still going to win 60 games this year.”
• What’s at stake for the Heat (47-20): Miami is a virtual lock to finish either first or second in the Eastern Conference. The Heat have said all season that earning the No. 1 seed is not a necessity, that having players healthy and rested is important. Nonetheless, Miami is 3.0 games behind first-place Indiana in the East standings, just two back in the loss column. The Pacers have a tough test Saturday, visiting Memphis.
• What’s at stake for the Pelicans (28-40): New Orleans has few victories this season against the elite ranks of the NBA, with its most impressive victories coming against Portland and Chicago. After winning in Atlanta last night, the Pelicans start a four-game homestand Saturday. The next three games are against Brooklyn, the Clippers and Utah.