The New Orleans Pelicans will host the Golden State Warriors tonight for the second night in a row. New Orleans will be looking to bounce back after a 123-108 loss last night. Two and a half games behind the tenth place Spurs with seven games left, the Pelicans (29-36) desperately need a win in their bid to make the NBA play-in tournament.
Meanwhile, the eighth place Warriors (33-32) boosted their playoff chances with a crucial win last night. After tonight’s game, their final six regular season games will be at home.
Warriors at Pelicans Betting Preview
The Steph Curry Show Continues
Stephen Curry has been electric the past couple of months. He has six 40 point games in his last 15 games and added 41 points last night. He and the Warriors got off to a fast start as he had 17 points in the first quarter and the Warriors led by 20 points. Curry finished the night with 41 points and eight assists, hitting eight threes in the process.
As Draymond Green put it, teams are “terrified of him” and for good reason. Curry has averaged a career high 31.4 points per game this season and leads the league in points per game. It’s nearly impossible to stop Curry and teams can only hope to contain him. Missing Klay Thompson for a second straight season, Curry has carried the Warriors offensively. They’ve been a good NBA Betting pick recently, going 10-5 SU in their last 15 games.
New Orleans’ three leading scorers are all under the age of 25, in Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball. Williamson, in his second season, is already a top-10 scorer in the league. He has averaged 27.1 points per game this season and 75 percent of his points come in the paint.
Ingram has, somewhat quietly, averaged 24 points and 4.9 assists per game, which are both career highs. He also shoots a respectable 37.8 percent on three pointers and has proven to be a much more willing passer in his fifth season in the NBA.
Ball, who was the subject of trade speculation this season, has improved leaps and bounds. His shooting mechanics look better and it has shown, especially at the free throw line. He’s still just a career 55.4 percent free throw shooter but has hit 78.6 percent of his attempts this season. An unselfish player who consistently makes the right basketball plays, Ball has also come into his own as a scorer.
On Saturday, Ball managed a career high in points and three pointers in a win against the Timberwolves. He hit eight threes en route to a 33 point performance to go along with eleven rebounds and eight assists. Earlier last week against the Nuggets, Ball also managed his first triple double of the season.
It will take time for coach Stan Van Gundy to get the most out of his young guys on the defensive end of the court. But, the young Pelicans are a talented group who, at their best, can compete with anyone in the league.
Last night was the first meeting of the season between these two teams, with two more matchups remaining. The Pelicans missed 20 of their 25 three point attempts last night and have been one of the league’s worst three point shooting teams this season. Perhaps it’s a trade off for their dominance in the paint.
Draymond Green, who hasn’t looked like himself for long stretches of the season, posted a triple double last night. He’ll be key to shutting down the Pelicans down low, as New Orleans averages 54.4 points in the paint, which is second-most in the league. Andrew Wiggins also put up 26 points last night and has certainly improved as a scorer in his time with the Warriors.
Ball will look to bounce back after following up his career night with a poor shooting night. Last night he hit just three of his eighteen shots, including one of nine three point attempts. Ball impacts the game in other ways, but the Pelicans need him as a tertiary scorer to remain competitive.
Once affectionately called Mini LeBron, Eric Bledsoe has struggled as a member of the Pelicans. He’s not a great three point shooter or distributor, so his fit next to Ball is questionable. Bledsoe has played below replacement level this season, according to advanced metrics, for the first time since his rookie year. Curry embarrassed him last night and hopefully the Pelicans can get more out of him with the playoffs on the line.
The Warriors will be missing Kelly Oubre (wrist), Eric Paschall (hip) and Damion Lee (COVID-19), while both Klay Thompson and James Wiseman are out for the remainder of the year. Rookie Nickeil Alexander Walker (ankle) and Josh Hart (thumb) are out for the Pelicans, while Steven Adams (toe) is questionable.
Getting Adams back would strengthen the Pelicans’ chances here. New Orleans, who shot 20 percent from three last night, should be better from beyond the arc. It’s time for the Pelicans to show their mettle as they’ve lost multiple important games down the stretch which could have improved their playoff hopes. They have, however, covered the spread in five of their last seven games.
On back-to-backs this season, the Warriors are just 5-8 ATS this season and have gone 14-18 ATS following wins. While that is concerning, New Orleans’ cover rate as a home favorite is even more so. The Pelicans have covered in just six of 21 games this season as a home favorite.
Despite that, it’s hard to bet against the Pelicans here. They’ll be well aware that their season is on the line and should be motivated by last night’s sluggish performance. I expect New Orleans to get a win at home before starting a tough five game road trip. Zion, who scored 32 points last night, should be able to dominate an undersized Warriors team once again.
The Pelicans haven’t exactly inspired confidence this season, but I can’t bet on a playoff-contending team to lose two games in a row at home. Expect the Pelicans’ young guys to carry them to a win here.