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Report: Pelicans’ Nikola Mirotic will play vs. Cavs on Wednesday after missing 12 games

Nikola Mirotic, Pelicans

New Orleans Pelicans stretch forward Nikola Mirotic will play on Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry.

Mirotic has missed 12 consecutive games due to a right ankle sprain. The five-year veteran hasn’t played since Dec. 10.

The Pelicans enter Wednesday with a record of 19-22, good for 12th place in the Western Conference standings. New Orleans is coming off a 114-95 win against the Memphis Grizzlies and is looking for its third win in a row.

In 25 games this season, Nikola Mirotic is averaging 17.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game while shooting 45.2 percent from the field, 34.8 percent from beyond the arc and 84.1 percent from the free-throw line.

The 27-year-old sharpshooter is fourth on the Pelicans in points per game and third in made 3-pointers.

Mirotic’s ability to stretch the floor for New Orleans is vital because it creates more room in the paint for superstar big man Anthony Davis to work with. As noted above, Gentry says Mirotic will play around 20 minutes against the Cavs since he’s been out for almost a month.

The Pelicans acquired Nikola Mirotic last season from the Chicago Bulls. While Niko is still one of the worst defenders in the league, his shooting and rebounding are two skills New Orleans needs right now.