Eric Gordon

Eric Gordon back, to start Thursday for Pelicans

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New Orleans has put together its young big three, the core of guys it thinks could grow into something special — Jrue Holiday and Eric Gordon in the backcourt, with Anthony Davis up front.

Except we haven’t seen that combo together this preseason as Eric Gordon has battled back from ankle surgery.

We will Thursday night — Gordon will be back and he will start against the Thunder, tweets Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com.

Expect there to be rust and limited minutes for Gordon tonight, but it’s a start. There is a reason that despite a rash of injuries the Pelicans gave Gordon a max deal — when healthy he has looked like one of the best young two guards in the league. We just haven’t seen him healthy much for a couple of seasons.

He also has the advantage now of not having to carry as much offensive load.

That is in part due to Davis, who has looked very good this preseason — much more aggressive and attacking off the dribble, and he’s showing confidence in his midrange jumper (even if it is not falling consistently yet).

New Orleans can be patient, it’s a process. It’s not even really about this season, it’s about showing progress — but if that progress comes fast enough the playoffs are not out of the question.

Stephen Curry skips pass between DeAndre Jordan’s legs, gets Zaza Pachulia a layup (video)

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Nicolas Batum wasn’t the only player to bounce a pass through an opponent’s legs last night.

Stephen Curry nutmegged DeAndre Jordan on this sweet assist to Zaza Pachulia.

Clint Capela and Montrezl Harrell take turns dunking on Julius Randle (videos)

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 05:  Head Coach Luke Walton of the Los Angeles Lakers talks with Julius Randle #30 during the second half of a 107-101 Jazz win at Staples Center on December 5, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Rough night for the Lakers, who lost 134-95 to the Rockets.

It was particularly harsh for Julius Randle, who got dunked on by Clint Capela:

And then Montrezl Harrell:

Giannis Antetokounmpo called for 10-second violation on free throw (video)

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This Giannis Antetokounmpo 10-second violation was a year in the making.

Unfortunately for the Trail Blazers, it was too little, too late. Antetokounmpo still finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists, four blocks and two steals in the Bucks’ 115-107 win.

Iman Shumpert injures hand while missing open dunk (video)

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Plenty went right for the Cavaliers in their 126-94 win over the Knicks last night, but there were a few snags.

LeBron James and his teammates repeatedly failed the water-bottle challenge in the closing moments (though Kyrie Irving eventually nailed it).

Kevin Love‘s nose malfunctioned.

And Iman Shumpert injured his hand while missing an open dunk.

If Shumpert was faking as an excuse for missing, he sold it hard. Defending 4-on-5 on the other end, Cleveland ceded a 3-pointer. Then, Shumpert remained hunched over while the Cavs brought the ball up-court. It seems Shumpert might have been popping back in a dislocated finger, which jibes with him staying in the game – and shows his toughness.

But it also doesn’t erase the shame of hurting yourself while missing an open dunk.