Minnesota Timberwolves at New Orleans Pelicans
Time: 7 PM CT (NBA TV)
Spread: NOP -5
Betting odds c/o 5dimes
The New Orleans Pelicans have lost seven of its past 10 games and currently sit 4.5 games out of the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference. NBA oddsmakers expect it to be able to make up some ground as it hosts the 13-29 Minnesota Timberwolves on NBA TV tonight.
The Pelicans are 5-point favorites in the game which will air at 7 PM Central.
New Orleans has struggled this year, but it has won two of its past three with wins over the Sacramento Kings and Charlotte Hornets. It most recently lost 101-99 to the Memphis Grizzlies last night, as Marc Gasol tapped a missed Courtney Lee free throw back towards half court to let time expire. Anthony Davis had 21 points and eight rebounds in the loss, but New Orleans was neg-6 on the boards and forced just 10 turnovers on the Memphis Grizzlies, who played a controlled winning brand of basketball.
As Davis goes, so goes the Pels. He is averaging 24.4 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.0 steals/blocks per game in the Pelicans’ 13 wins. But in losses Davis has been good for just 21.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 4.2 (oddly more dominant in losses) steals/blocks per game.
Over his past five games, Davis has averaged 22.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and three assists per game. His lack of boards over the past two games is troubling, with just 13 rebounds between the win over Charlotte and the loss to Memphis. Davis is posting a PER of 24.4 this season, but few Pelicans are having a good season outside of him. Ryan
Anderson has been solid with 17 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, and Tyreke Evans is playing like a “lite” version of what he was as a rookie with 15.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game this year, but the Pelicans are giving up 105.4 points per game which gives them a differential of negative-4.0. The team is 8-9 at home this season where it will play tonight’s game, but it has been horrendous on the road.
There is just so much to turn around, and the team will likely lose either Evans or Eric Gordon this offseason in free agency. Gordon is averaging 15 points per game but is posting a PER of just 13.3, and even at his best he is still a shadow of the talent he was when the then-Hornets dealt Chris Paul to the Clippers to obtain his services.
Combining to Gordon’s underachievement has been the slow coming around Jrue Holiday who is still averaging just 13.5 points and 4.9 assists on the season. Over his past five, however, Holiday has seen 29 minutes per game while tallying 17 points, 5.4 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game. Getting him back to an All-Star level of production is key in this team re-arriving at its potential. After sneaking into the postseason few expected the Pelicans to fall off this precipitously a year later.
The Minnesota Timberwolves were able to emerge with a lopsided 117-87 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night, ending a nine-game skid the Wolves had against Phoenix. Karl-Anthony Towns, Ricky Rubio and Andrew Wiggins combined as a trio to hit 19 of 32 from the field for 50 combined points and the Wolves shot 56.5 percent as a team in the game. Minnesota also got 61 points from its reserves in the game, led by Gorgui Dieng’s 15 points on 4 of 6 shooting (7 of 7 free throws).
The Wolves looked like a playoff team if just for a night, but that is the case when this team is playing its best basketball. The trouble is consistency because Minnesota lacks enough quality outside shooters to always provide ample court spacing. The Wolves have a glut of young talent, but adding some shooters to the roster has to rank atop the to-do list both this trade deadline—and over the offseason.