Miami Heat at New Orleans Pelicans
Time: 8:05 PM ET
Spread: MIA -1
Betting odds c/o Bovada
When it rains it pours, in New Orleans. The Pelicans lost Anthony Davis for up to two weeks ad Ryan Anderson is expected to miss two to four weeks. Jrue Holiday is still out another few weeks. And resultantly, the Pelicans enter this home matchup against the Toronto Raptors as 1-point underdogs to the visiting Miami Heat in the NBA Daily lines.
The over/under for the game is not yet set at Bovada, but for an explanation of how to bet these figures, visit our NBA odds explained.
The injuries hit the Pelicans as it fights for its dear lives in the Western Conference playoff chase. New Orleans trails No. 8 Oklahoma City by 1.5 games and making up that ground is going to be tough without three of its top six players. Davis essentially is the Pelicans, and his presence will be sorely missed on both ends of the court.
Tyreke Evans has done a decent job filling in for Holiday at the point, but missing Anderson’s shooting is going to eliminate some much needed floor spacing from the offense. Even so, the Pelicans were able to pull out a 105-91 victory over Miami Saturday night, while losing Davis and Anderson in the contest. Wednesday night (Feb 25), the Pelicans defeated Brooklyn behind 25 points from Quincy Pondexter, while Evans dished out a game-high 11 assists. The Pels had 26 assists on 38 field goals while shooting 51.4 percent from the floor.
While it was a struggling Nets team that was defeated, this team can be dangerous even without Davis.
These injuries could be just the thing to spur on shooting guard Eric Gordon. For one night at least, he looked like the stud he was with the L.A. Clippers before injuries had begun to derail his career in the Big Easy. Gordon scored 24 points on 7 of 18 shooting (six of his seven makes were triples) and also dished out six assists to go with his three boards.
Evans and Gordon have been splitting ball handling duties with Holiday sidelined, and though neither are point guards, the Pelicans had made do with the tandem in the backcourt. The disheartening thing for Pelican fans is that even once Davis, Anderson and Holiday return, the playoff berth will likely be out of reach by that time. Gordon had a poor shooting night in the Brooklyn contest, hitting just 2 of 11 from the floor. Over his last 10 games he is shooting just 35.6 percent from the floor while averaging a dozen points per game. That has to improve quickly for the Pelicans to remain on the bubble, or crack it, in the West.
The Miami Heat aggressively pursued, and obtained, All-Star guard Goran Dragic at the trade deadline. The Heat surrendered two first round picks, indicative of the fact that the Heat will likely award him with his market-value max-contract this summer. Dragic should enable Dwyane Wade to extend his career by allowing Wade to focus on being more opportunistic. In short, Dragic can score the basketball.
Playing in a crowded Phoenix Suns backcourt this season, his usage rate dipped and affected his overall numbers, but his play is steady, solid and impressive. The Houston Rockets were vying to bring him back to H-Town for the same reason: he’s evolved into one of the league’s premier multifacted guards. Accenting Dragic and Wade for the remainder of this season is Hassan Whiteside, who has been nothing short of a beast since receiving his first starts this season.
The Heat pulled an incredible come-from-behind victory over the Orlando Magic on Wed (Feb 25) night, rallying from an eight-point deficit with 47 seconds to go, and pushing the Magic to Overtime where the Heat won 93-90. Both Wade and Dragic struggled in the loss, hitting a combined 9 of 29 from the field, but Luol Deng had his way with the Magic and the Heat backcourt started hitting the shots when it mattered most late in the game.
Moreover, despite Orlando getting 26 points from starting center Nikola Vucevic, Hassan Whiteside played smart defense. He allowed Vucevic to take his face up opportunities, counting on a miss, so that he could protect the basket. Though Whiteside only had two blocks in regulation, the proverbial “shot changing” effect was seen. Victor Oladipo repeatedly got to the basket, but hit just 4 of 14 mostly because Whiteside was rushing his looks or just altering them. That impact will be just as vital tonight in keeping Tyreke Evans out of the paint.