Tuesday, February 20, 2024
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NBA Preview: New Orleans Pelicans (26-19) at Milwaukee Bucks (31-14)

The Milwaukee Bucks are 1-1 since firing head coach Adrian Griffin on Tuesday.

Their transition continues with a home game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night as both teams complete a back-to-back set.

The Bucks have had three head coaches in less than week. Assistant coach Joe Prunty replaced Griffin as Milwaukee beat the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday and lost a rematch Friday.

He reportedly will coach the team against New Orleans even though the organization announced Friday night that it had hired Doc Rivers as Griffin’s permanent replacement.

The roller-coaster ride in recent days belies a team that owns the second-best record in the Eastern Conference.

On Friday, Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo fell one assist short of what would have been his fourth triple-double in five games, finishing with 22 points and 11 rebounds. But the Bucks’ offense went stagnant in the second half, scoring just 43 points.

The Pelicans finished 2-2 on a homestand that concluded with a 107-83 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday. New Orleans played without leading scorer Zion Williamson (left foot bone contusion), whose status for Saturday was uncertain.

New Orleans continued a recent trend of inconsistent offense. Williamson had a career-high 11 of the Pelicans’ franchise-record 41 assists as the Pelicans set another franchise record for points in a game in a 153-124 victory against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday.

The Pelicans started the homestand by making a franchise-record 25 3-pointers in a 132-112 victory against the Charlotte Hornets on Jan. 17, then shot a woeful 23.8 percent on 3-point attempts two nights later in a 123-109 loss to the Phoenix Suns.

New Orleans is beginning a four-game road trip that continues Monday against the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics. The Pelicans will play eight of their next nine games on the road.

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