The New Orleans Pelicans don't know when All-Star forward Anthony Davis and guard Tyreke Evans will be back. That means Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday may need to pick up the scoring slack to keep them surging Saturday night against the woeful Brooklyn Nets.
New Orleans (17-28) is averaging 110.9 points while winning six of its last eight games. The most significant loss of that stretch, however, is losing Davis to a concussion suffered Monday when he was accidentally hit in the head by Evans' elbow during a 112-111 loss to Houston.
Evans, meanwhile, has right knee tendinitis.
Without the pair, who average a combined 37.1 points, the Pelicans got superb performances from Anderson and Holiday in Thursday's 114-105 win over Sacramento. Anderson matched his career high of 36 points and added nine rebounds and four assists, while Holiday added 25 points and eight assists without a turnover off the bench as New Orleans won for the first time in six games without Davis.
"Obviously, Ryan was great, but I thought our other guys stepped up," coach Alvin Gentry said. "When they made a run at us, we kept our composure and were able to come up with the necessary baskets to extend the lead back. I was happy with the way everyone played."
Anderson added nine rebounds and four assists against the Kings, and he's averaging 27.0 points over the past three games - well above his season mark of 17.4 per game.
"We've been playing hard and playing really good defense and just playing for each other," said Holiday, who has 57 points and 17 assists over the last two games. "If we keep doing that, I think we can be where we want to be at the end of the day."
New Orleans has averaged 107.3 points during its three-game winning streak over the Nets (12-35). That seems destined to reach four since Brooklyn has lost 11 of its last 13 games while scoring just 90.5 per contest.
The Nets were abysmal from the field Friday, shooting a season-low 35.9 percent - 4 for 20 from beyond the arc - in a 91-79 loss at Dallas.
"I've been in situations before, so I know how to stay positive," said Thaddeus Young, who has been on one team with a winning record in eight-plus seasons. "I know how to continue to play, and how to keep willing my team on. That's what I'm going to do."
Young will try to improve upon his 11 points, 10 rebounds and five steals from Friday. The forward had 19 points in a 102-96 loss in the Nets' most recent visit to New Orleans on Feb. 25.
Brook Lopez had 15 points and seven boards as a reserve. However, he was among the few bright spots for Brooklyn on Friday, scoring 28 points with 12 rebounds.
The center is averaging 23.7 points, 10.3 boards and 2.0 blocks over the past seven road games.