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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, January 3rd (All times Eastern)

New Orleans Pelicans (14-16) at Boston Celtics (13-19), 7:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Boston Celtics will try to turn things around after some recent poor play when they welcome the New Orleans Pelicans to TD Bank Garden on Friday night.

The C's have dropped two in a row and five of their last six, including three of four in Beantown. In the process, and coupled with a recent surge by the Toronto Raptors, Boston has fallen three games back in the Atlantic Division.

On Thursday, the Celtics fell in Chicago to the Bulls, 94-82.

Jordan Crawford scored a game-high 22 points and distributed seven assists. Jared Sullinger added 11 points and 11 boards in the setback and Jeff Green finished with 11. The Celtics committed 20 turnovers and shot under 40 percent, but all was not lost on the skipper.

"I am very encouraged and the reason why is we played very physical," said Boston coach Brad Stevens. "I think this is the best we have played in the last seven games."

With the heavy winter storm that pounded the Northeast corridor of the country, the Celtics stayed in Chicago on Thursday night, meaning they will be flying in on game day.

"We just have to be ready to play tomorrow night. That's the way it is with a back to back. We just have to make sure we get our rest," said Green.

The Pelicans have dropped two of their last three, including the first of a four-game road trip in Minnesota. The Wolves used a balanced attack to batter the Pelicans, 124-112.

"The way we've been playing in practice I thought we'd be ready for some of the advanced schemes on defense, but we weren't and that's on me," said New Orleans head coach Monty Williams.

Ryan Anderson paced all scorers with 25 points on just 2-of-8 shooting from deep for the Pelicans. Jrue Holiday finished with 19 points and five assists, while Anthony Davis scored 13 points to go along with four blocks.

Tyreke Evans chipped in 16 points and Eric Gordon added 12.

The Pelicans shot an impressive 51.7 percent against the Wolves, but allowed Minny to shoot 55.7 percent.

Things get brutal for New Orleans on the remainder of this trip. They face the Indiana Pacers on Saturday, then head to South Beach to take on the Miami Heat on Tuesday.

New Orleans has won three in a row over the Celtics dating back to the 2011-12 season. The Pelicans have taken two straight in Boston.

01/03 10:38:02 ET