Golden State is sitting pretty for a spot in the play-in tournament, but New Orleans needs to win out and get some help.
It’s the first of a doubleheader, so the Pelicans can bridge the gap. However, beating Steph Curry and the Warriors is easier said than done.
The game will be highlighted by Marvel’s Arena of Heroes and the online sportsbook has framed a tight market.
Curry: Out of this World
We have run out of words to describe Curry. He is not only the best shooter the NBA has seen, but he’s taking this Warriors team to the playoffs.
It didn’t look likely earlier this season, but that was before Curry got warm. He’s now on a Thai Green Curry level and he doesn’t appear to be slowing down.
The dynamic point guard has lifted his average to 31.3 points per game and he is making good defenses look second-rate. He recently broke James Harden’s record for most threes in a month, which has led to increased coverage on his cuts.
Curry was asked about what part of his game has slowed down most for him.
“Just being able to adjust to different defenses,” reported NBC Sports. “Daylight seems to come few and far between, but when you do get it – being able to take advantage and attack when defenses slip up. That’s been the biggest thing as the years have gone on.
“The compliment I love is when guys tell me to stop running around so much when they’re defending me. That’s a testament to being in great shape and being able to play at that level for however long I’m out there.”
We’re not sure what type of superhero Curry will be against the Pelicans, but bettors can be assured of another big scoring night.
Defense Coming Up Big for Warriors
Defensive numbers don’t always do the Warriors justice, but it has improved significantly over the last few weeks.
Golden State is allowing 113 points for the season, but only two of the last five opposing teams have reached the mark. Sacramento scored 113 and Minnesota scored 114, so it has been a good stretch for the defense.
The Warriors allowed only 87 points against Houston in a 113-87 win, 103 points against Dallas and 97 points against Denver. Limiting high-powered offenses to low totals is a sure-fire way to win, so they’re locked in at both ends.
Having quality defenders such as Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins helps. They have been able to switch well and put pressure on opponents to make another pass.
If the Warriors can continue the defensive pressure, expect to see plenty of turnovers from New Orleans.
Pelicans Hanging Around
It has been a disappointing year for New Orleans, but back-to-back wins have kept it in touch for the play-in tournament.
The Pelicans play the Warriors three more times during the regular season. Going 3-0 would put them firmly in the mix for a playoff spot, but even going 2-1 might not be enough.
“I’m leveled up, I’m Super Saiyan” 🔥
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) May 2, 2021
All the pressure is on Game 1 and the likes of Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball and, more importantly, Brandon Ingram will need to step up.
We have singled out Ingram because if Williamson gets into foul trouble or the opposition closes off the paint, Ingram is needed to provide the offense. The Pelicans can’t rely on Ball to make shots, and even Williamson is limited to his selection down the stretch.
Enter Ingram, who is long and talented enough to shoot over anyone. If the Pelicans are going to make a late playoff bid, he’ll need to match his 24-point average on a nightly basis.
The equation was helped with back-to-back road wins over Oklahoma City and Minnesota. The win over the Timberwolves came in overtime, but traveling home and having to play Golden State a few days later won’t be easy.
Warriors vs Pelicans Betting Trends
The Warriors and Pelicans have identical against the spread (ATS) records of 30-34-0.
New Orleans has been the much better team at covering spreads of late, which includes a four-game streak. They won three of those four games and covered the +3½ spread when losing 114-112 to Denver.
Golden State has covered just one of its last three games, including 34 and 16½-point ATS losses. However, they easily covered NBA betting lines when beating Denver and Philadelphia.
It is 0-4 ATS in its last four games following a straight-up win and 1-6 ATS in its last seven games vs a team with a winning home record.
The Pelicans are 4-0 in their last four games when allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.
Bettors could find value in the under, which is 4-1 in the last five meetings and in the last five meetings in New Orleans.
Warriors vs Pelicans Game Pick
The Pelicans have been a good bet recently, but facing the Golden State Warriors in this situation isn’t easy.
We think the Warriors will continue their quality defense and New Orleans will have to make contested shots to keep this one close.
Playing at home hasn’t been a huge help to the Pelicans (17-16), so they don’t gain an advantage playing at Smoothie King Center.
Bettors get value odds with the visitors and they could bury the playoff hopes of the Pelicans.