NEW ORLEANS – The Celtics end their brief two-game road trip with a stop in the Big Easy against the 1-9 Pelicans and it’s a game they need to secure considering the week that awaits them.
The Celtics will return home Wednesday for the Dallas Mavericks, who are expected to welcome back star Dirk Nowitzki to the lineup. Next comes a back-to-back set against the Golden State Warriors on Friday, and their star-studded lineup, followed by a date with the Detroit Pistons on Saturday.
So the Celtics could use a victory and will have Isaiah Thomas, despite a sprained left middle finger. Al Horford is a game-time decision as he continues to progress from a concussion. He participated in the team’s Monday morning shootaround.
“I don’t want to make any promises at this point, I’m toward the end of this whole thing,” Horford said. “I don’t want to make any promises. You want to make sure that when you feel well, there’s nothing lingering or anything. I felt good (after my last workout) so for me, that’s a really good sign. I’m happy I’m able to do that.”
Thomas, who had a wrap around his middle finger, said he has no plans of missing any playing time.
“Just gotta work around it,” he said. “Right now, I don’t put nothing in my left hand. I hope it’s a sprain where I can get the swelling out but the swelling hasn’t really moved.”
The Celtics will face Anthony Davis, one of the more skilled big men in the league. He enters Monday third in the NBA in scoring (31.7 points per game), tied for seventh in rebounding (10.7) and first in blocked shots (3.0).
“They’re a great team, a team that likes to work hard, play hard,” Davis said of the Celtics. “A lot of guys like to get into the paint, so we have to keep them out of the paint and protect home floor. We don’t have a lot guys that other teams have, you know the three or four players on each team who are superstars or whatever. So we have to come out and play hard.”
Pelicans at a glance
■ When, where: Monday, 8 p.m., at Smoothie King Center, New Orleans.
■ TV, radio: CSN, WEEI (93.7).
■ Scoring: Anthony Davis 31.3, E’Twaun Moore 12.5, Tim Frazier 11.5.
■ Rebounding: Davis 10.8, Omer Asik 6.6, Terrance Jones 4.7.
■ Assists: Frazier 8.1, Moore 2.9, Solomon Hill 2.5.
■ Head to head: This is the first of two meetings this season.
■ Miscellany: The Pelicans have the league’s worst record at 1-9. They are 0-5 at home . . . Davis briefly left Saturday night’s loss to the Lakers with lower-back pain but finished the game and eclipsed 30 points for the seventh time in 10 games this season.
Follow Gary Washburn on Twitter at @GwashburnGlobe