#513 New Orleans Pelicansvs.#514 San Antonio Spurs
Written by Ricky Dimon
NBA: Saturday, October 29 at 8:00 p.m. EST
The Line: San Antonio Spurs -13.5. Total: 205.
The New Orleans Pelicans will be playing the second game of a back-to-back situation when they visit the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center on Saturday night. New Orleans dropped its opener 107-102 at home to Denver on Wednesday before its scheduled visit to Golden State on Friday. The Spurs are 2-0 following road wins over the Warriors and Kings.
Pelicans’ big man Anthony Davis did not play in April last season because of a knee injury. He certainly did not waste any time getting back into the swing of things in the 2016-17 opener on Wednesday against the Nuggets. Davis poured in 50 points on 17-of-34 shooting, in addition to a 16-for-17 performance from the free-throw line. The former University of Kentucky standout also produced 16 rebounds, five assists, seven steals, and four blocks. He became just the fourth player in NBA history to score at least 50 points a season opener, joining Michael Jordan (twice), Wilt Chamberlain, and Elgin Baylor. Unfortunately for Davis and company, no other Pelican scored more than 15 points during the home loss and only two other players (Lance Stephenson and Tim Frazier) made at least half of their field-goal attempts.
“He’s a hell of a player,” head coach Alvin Gentry said of Davis. “He’s one of the best players in the league. It doesn’t surprise me that he has the night like he had. It’s not like this is the first time he’s ever done it.”
Doing the little things has always been the forte of Spurs’ guard Kawhi Leonard. Two games into the 2016-17 campaign, he is doing it all–and that includes scoring in droves. Leonard has 65 points and 10 steals through two outings. No NBA player has put up those numbers since World B. Free in 1979, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The 25-year-old, who is already a two-time Defensive Player of the Year winner, delivered 35 points and five steals in an opening blowout of Golden State on Tuesday. He then went for 30 points to go along with five more thefts at the Kings’ expense on Thursday. Leonard eight rebounds and eight assists after two games.
“He’s so complete,” new teammate Pau Gasol said of Leonard. “You see players play at a high level on offense, but this guy does it on both ends. It’s hard to say where he is more exceptional. I’ve been around and played against some incredible players, but this guy is unique.”
The New Orleans Pelicans are:
The San Antonio Spurs are:
The Spurs led for only 14 seconds during the first half of Thursday’s win over Sacramento, but the bench came up big after the break. Backup forwards Dewyane Dedmon (12 points, four blocks, four offensive rebounds) and David Lee (12 points, five rebounds) led a second-half charge. Whereas Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge are getting plenty of help, Davis did not get much of the same in the Pelicans’ opener. New Orleans is 0-4 ATS in its last four overall dating back to last season, while San Antonio is 4-1 ATS in its last five against the Southwest Division. Roll with the Spurs and also consider the under.
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A 2006 graduate of Davidson College, Ricky is a freelance sports writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. He has previously worked with various websites in the sports handicapping industry and is generally a fan of going with the hot hand while in most cases showing a willingness to take favorites and give the points. Beyond the four major sports, Ricky is an avid tennis fan—and writer—and covers the ATP Tour on a daily basis.