After suffering some early season setbacks, New Orleans is starting to get healthy at the right time. The Pelicans are currently tied for ninth place in the Western Conference standings with a 7-7 overall record, but the team has played several games without point guard Elfrid Payton,and forward Nikola Mirotic. Mirotic is no longer on the team’s injury report ahead on the team’s game against New York after returning on Wednesday, while Payton is scheduled to rejoin the team following a nine-game absence.
Knicks fall to Thunder without Westbrook
The Knicks lost their third straight game, falling on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder 128-103 without Thunder star Russell Westbrook. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored a team-high 20 points, while Enes Kanter added 19 points and five boards against his former team in a losing effort for the Knicks, who have not owned a lead over their last 10 quarters of play.
New York comes into the weekend scoring 104.2 points per 100 possessions, which ranks 25th in the NBA. They also sport a defensive rating of 110.5 points per 100 possessions (25th in the NBA) and a net rating of -6.3 (26th in the NBA) so far this year.
Pelicans snap three-game win streak
New Orleans saw their three-game winning streak come to an end on Wednesday night, as they fell on the road 107-100 to the Minnesota Timberwolves. E’twaun Moore scored a team-high 31 points, while Anthony Davis added 29 points, 11 boards and four blocks in a losing effort for New Orleans. Mirotic returned and also posted a double-double, chipping in 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Pelicans, who dropped to 7-7 on the year.
New Orleans enters Friday’s matchup with the Knicks ranked eighth in the NBA in offensive efficiency with a rating of 111.3 points per 100 possessions, while allowing 110.2 points per 100 possessions on the defensive end of the floor. The Pelicans also rank eighth in the league with an offensive rebounding percentage of 30 percent.
- Pelicans are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400.
- Pelicans are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400.
- Pelicans are 12-3 ATS in their last 15 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record.
- Knicks are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing more than 125 points in their previous game.
- Knicks are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Knicks are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Knicks have covered the spread in seven of their last 10 trips to New Orleans, but they are just 1-4 against the spread in their last five meetings with the Pelicans overall.They are coming off of getting drubbed against the Thunder without Russell Westbrook and they’ve really struggled to defend screen-and-rolls all season long. That is going to be a problem in this game against a team that can really move the ball around the perimeter and put some added stress on New York’s poor defensive rotations. Take the Pelicans to cover the spread at home in this matchup on Friday night.
Prediction: Pick: New Orleans Pelicans -10.5
Full-Game Total Pick
These two teams have gone under the projected total in six of their last seven meetings in New Orleans and six of their last seven overall. The Pelicans rank among the top teams in the NBA in offensive efficiency and they should get even better in that department with the return of Elfrid Payton. Payton gives the Pelicans an added ball-handler and allows head coach Alvin Gentry to move Wesley Johnson to the bench. New York ranks 25th in the NBA in offensive and defensive efficiency, so I’ll take my chances with the over in this matchup at the Smoothie King Center on Friday.
Prediction: Over 228