The Nets are heading to NOLA to face the Pelicans on Tuesday night. And as they do, they are down two of their three superstars, and another big man. Nicolas Claxton just entered health-and-safety protocol, while LaMarcus Aldridge retired last week after playing with an irregular heartbeat. Your turn, DeAndre Jordan.
And normally, you can find the odds of the game previews in the middle of the article. Not this time. It’s pretty startling, so it’s going higher up in the piece.
Odds: The Pelicans are actually favored to win the ballgame, NOP -2.5. The moneyline for New Orleans is -138, while it’s +118 for the visiting Nets. The over/under is 231.5 points.
How Brooklyn Looks
Brooklyn lost to the Heat on a buzzer-beater on Sunday, but that wasn’t the biggest loss they suffered that day. KD got hurt again in the fifth minute of the game, suffering a thigh contusion. And it is very fair to question if he will be able to survive a long playoff run, having hardly played in the past couple of years. This is a serious concern and should be treated as one.
James Harden continues to sit, having also aggravated his injury in his first game back a few weeks ago. And thus, the onus falls to Kyrie Irving, the last star standing. The Beard is not known for injury issues but has sure had to deal with them in recent weeks. Irving is known for being able to dominate for long stretches but is not always available.
Look for Landry Shamet and Joe Harris to try and stay hot with their shots. Shamet scored 30 on seven threes against Miami. He’s in some zone.
How the Pelicans Look
Sunday was just the latest heartbreak for a Pelicans team still trying to get over the hump. They were invited to the bubble last year but went just 2-6 in the eight games, despite a relatively easy schedule. They added Stan Van Gundy as coach this past offseason, but he hasn’t been able to help improve their defense.
On the bright side, Naji Marshall looks to be bristling with potential, as he’s looked really good over the last several weeks. He’s only getting minutes because of Josh Hart’s injury, but the team should be very glad to have another reliable option, whether he’s starting or coming off the bench. Marshall is an athletic perimeter player than can also knock down the three. He’s a 23-year-old that played four years at Xavier.
The team is, of course, led by Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson, who might need some more help. The team’s centers often contribute very little, while Lonzo Ball and Eric Bledsoe’s offensive contributions are extremely inconsistent. Bledsoe has been hot of late, but can it continue? They’ll need Ingram to outplay Kyrie in a battle of Duke stars that also includes Zion.
Pelicans Pick Up the Win at Home
Playing a short-handed Nets team that has only DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin to play center will result in a win for the Pels. They keep pace for the play-in tournament.
SPREAD PLAY: PELS -2.5
OVER/UNDER: OVER 231.5
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