NBA viewing guide: Struggling Warriors look to bounce back against a hot Pelicans squad

Ezra Shaw

There are eight teams in action Tuesday with the Warriors-Pelicans headlining the night.

It's a bit of a "calm before the storm" night in the NBA as there are just four games Tuesday before Wednesday night's massive 13 game slate. Let's take a peek at those four games.

Appetizer

Brooklyn Nets vs. Toronto Raptors

7:00 p.m. ET; League Pass

The Atlantic Division has been all sorts of weird through the first month of basketball. The Knicks and Nets, both thought of as true contenders in the East before the season started, sit at 3-10, with the former losing six straight and the latter dropping five straight. The Raptors, at 6-7, are first in the division and the Philadelphia 76ers, who didn't bother to assemble a full NBA roster, are in second.

The Brooklyn Nets are, for the third straight game, without Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terrywho are all nursing nagging injuries. There's really no other way to say this: the Nets have been a major disaster. They assembled one of the highest payrolls in NBA history and its resulted in the 24th worst offense and the very worst defense, via Basketball-Reference. It's bad.

The Raptors, on the other hand, are playing about as expected. A middling-roster is producing middling-results and their 6-7 record speaks to that. Rudy Gay, who is shooting 38 percent on the year, has banned stat sheets from the locker room, so that's something.

Reading material: Why everyone, not just Jason Kidd, is to blameShould the NBA do away with its Divisons

Main Course

Golden State Warriors vs. New Orleans Pelicans

8:00 p.m. ET; NBA League Pass

The Warriors are on a three game skid, with two of those losses coming without Stephen Curry and the other without Andre Iguodala. Against the Pelicans, Andrew Bogut will join Iguodala on the sidelines while serving his one game suspension for his part in the Warriors-Blazers skirmish Saturday night.  Opponents shoot 6 percent better around the rim when Bogut is on the sidelines, per NBA.com/stats. That inside presence will surely be missed when Anthony Davis, a menace around the rim, is roaming the paint off pick-and-rolls.

Ryan Anderson has been fantastic in the four games since his return from a toe injury. He's averaging almost 23 points and is hitting 3.5 threes per game at a 54 percent clip. His return has unlocked unstoppable parts of coach Monty Williams' playbook and has opened up the Pelicans' offense. New Orleans, in the four games since Anderson's return, are scoring over 109 points per game.

How will the Warriors adjust without Iggy and Bogut? The first thought is that Golden State will play small against the Pelicans, opting to play David Lee at the center, Harrison Barnes at power forward, Klay Thompson at small forward with Curry and Toney Douglas manning the guard spots. But there's also the option of playing Marreese Speights or Jermaine O'Neal at the 5 spot. That adjustment will write the narrative for the game Tuesday night.

Can the Pelicans steal a victory before their road streak? New Orleans will hit the road for a three-game east coast swing at Philadelphia, New York and Chicago. Those games are all winnable but it can be damning to stay afloat on road swings. The Pelicans will likely need to get back to .500 Tuesday night to ready itself for the next three games.

Reading material: Player reactions from Saturday night's altercation,The rise of New Orleans' offense

Side Dish

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Washington Wizards

7:00 p.m. ET; NBA TV

Don't look now, but the Lakers are 7-7 and just 2.5 back from the Clippers in the Pacific Division. Most of that can be attributed to nice ball movement and a surprisingly sturdy defense. Nine players average over seven points per game with no one averaging more than 14. Los Angeles plays with the third fastest pace and is the fifth best three-point shooting team. The Lakers aren't going to blow teams out of the water or wow you with All-Star talent, but they come at you in waves and when they get hot, they are tough to handle.

The Wizards have won three of their last four games holding opponents to 94 points per game in that stretch. At 5-8 they are just a half game back from eighth in the East. One of Washington's major problems early has been its bench. Bradley Beal, who is scoring over 20 points per game, is going to miss at least two weeks with a leg injury.

Reading material: Is D'Antonio winning with defense?Ideas for improving the bench

Dessert

Orlando Magic vs. Atlanta Hawks

7:30 p.m. ET; NBA League Pass

Here at SB Nation, we like to eat our dessert before our main course which is why the Magic-Hawks game that starts 30 minutes earlier than Warriors-Pelicans, is our sweet little pecan pie. Judge if you must.

The Hawks have been awesome. Jeff Teague, at 25-years-old, has taken the next step in his evolution as an NBA point guard. He's putting up All-Star caliber numbers with per game averages of 18 points and nine assists. Al Horford, who embodies the term "underrated," has registered a PER of over 21. And, uhh, this is Kyle Korver's shot chart:

Shotchart_1385502471104_medium

That's a real thing and it's glorious. Look at those corners! Look at the top of the key! He's 6-of-6 at the rim! That right there is Stat Geek Porn and is it ever beautiful.

Orlando hasn't been good, but there is a lot of fun in its incompetence. Arron Afflalo has been superb with per game career-highs in points (21.6), rebounds (5.1) and assists (4.7).  Nikola Vucevic has upped his points per game to 15 while still averaging 11 boards per game. Victor Oladipo, the No. 2 overall pick, has struggled mightily with turnovers but he makes one-on-one defense legitimately fun to watch.

More from SB Nation NBA:

The Hook: With Kobe Bryant, the Lakers made the easy choice

Prada's pictures: Clippers have more work to do

Derrick Rose's season-ending injury cuts deep in Chicago

Flannery: Dawn of the Paul George Era

Ziller: Sometimes the tank chooses you

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