The New Orleans Pelicans go on the road on Sunday evening, as they travel to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers in a battle of two teams who are currently outside of the playoff picture. The Pelicans defeated the second-place team in the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia 76ers, by a score of 101-94 on Friday night, while the Cavaliers took on the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night, losing by a score of 135-115. This is the second and final meeting of the season between these two teams. The Pelicans won the first matchup on March 12 by a score of 116-82.
New Orleans is 24-28 against the spread this season, while the over-under is 33-18-1. The Pelicans covered the spread in their last game, as they were a 5.5-point underdog in their win over Philadelphia on Friday. Cleveland is 21-31 against the spread, while the over-under is 21-29-2 this season. The Cavaliers failed to cover the spread on Saturday night, as they were a three-point favorite in their 20-point loss to the Raptors.
Pelicans look to make a run and sneak into NBA PlayoffsThe New Orleans Pelicans enter their game with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday in 11th place in the Western Conference. As of Saturday night, they are one game behind the Golden State Warriors for 10th place (pending the outcome of Golden State's game with the Houston Rockets on Saturday night). The Pelicans' win over the 76ers on Friday broke a brief two-game losing streak for New Orleans, in which they lost to Atlanta and Brooklyn by an average of 22 points per game. Each of their last three losses has been by at least 16 points, while New Orleans' last two wins have been by seven points each. The Pelicans' next five games are against teams that currently have a losing record, so New Orleans can make up some ground in the standings over the next couple of weeks.
Zion Williamson had himself a day on Friday, as the second-year player nearly recorded a triple-double with 37 points (including 14 in the fourth quarter), 15 rebounds, and eight assists. All of those totals were game-highs. The Pelicans didn't shoot the ball particularly well, shooting 43.3% from the floor and 18.2% from three-point range. New Orleans outrebounded Philadelphia 56-47, and they dominated the middle, as they outscored the 76ers 66-34 in the paint. Three of the four quarters were decided by just one point, but the Pelicans won the third quarter 26-18, which proved to be the difference in the game.
“My teammates were giving me confidence and saying we trust you and every move you make,” Williamson said on espn.com. “All that stuff plays a part.”
Williamson leads New Orleans, and is eighth in the NBA, with 26.5 points per game this season. Williamson is averaging 31.3 points per game in his last seven games. He is shooting 61.7% from the floor for the season. Second-leading scorer Brandon Ingram returned from missing five games to score 17 points against Philadelphia. He is averaging 23.7 points per game for the season. Lonzo Ball, who is averaging 14.6 points per game this season, will sit out Sunday's game with hip flexor soreness. New Orleans is ranked seventh in the NBA in points per game (114.6) and field goal percentage (48.1%), while they are third in rebounds per game (46.5). They are shooting 35.4% from three-point range, and they have the worst foul shooting team in the NBA (73.2%). Defensively, the Pelicans are giving up 115.1 points per game, while their opponents are shooting 47.3% from the floor and 39.3% from three-point range, which is the worst mark in the NBA. They are also first in the NBA in opponents rebounds per game, giving up just 40.6 boards per game.
Cavaliers routed at home by RaptorsThe Cleveland Cavaliers have had a miserable season so far, but it hasn't gotten any worse than this. The Cavaliers' 20-point loss on Saturday was their fourth-largest margin of defeat this season at home, but the three teams that have beaten them by greater margins (Utah, LA Clippers, Milwaukee) have a combined .679 winning percentage this season. Those teams are supposed to beat teams like Cleveland by more than 20 points regardless of where the game is played. Toronto, on the other hand, has just a .396 winning percentage, and, like Cleveland, will probably be watching the NBA Playoffs at home, instead of participating in them. The loss broke a mini two-game winning streak, which was their longest winning streak since winning four in a row from February 23-March 1. Cleveland has lost 12 of their last 17 games since then.
The Cavaliers gave up at least 40 points in each of the first two quarters on Saturday night, as they trailed by a score of 87-54 at halftime. Cleveland's largest lead of the game was two points. The Cavaliers shot 45.3% from the floor and 42.9% from three-point range, but the Raptors were out of the minds in this game, shooting a sizzling 61.6% from the floor and 53.1% from three-point range. Cleveland had six players who scored in double digits in the game, as they were led by Collin Sexton, who poured in 29 points in the loss. Darius Garland and Kevin Love chipped in with 19 and 18 points, respectively, for the Cavaliers.
“It was embarrassing what happened in the first half,” Sexton said on espn.com. “We came out being soft and it’s our job as starters to be better, to set the tone for the game right away.”
Sexton leads the Cavaliers in scoring with an average of 24.0 points per game this season, while Garland averages 16.8 points per game. Cleveland has the worst offensive team in the NBA, as they are last in points per game (103.6) and three-point shooting (33.5%), while they are 23rd in field goal percentage (45.1%) and 29th in foul shooting (73.3%). The Cavaliers are giving up 110.8 points per game this season, while their opponents are shooting 47.7% from the floor and 38.2% from three-point range.
- The Pelicans are 4-1 ATS in their last five games versus Cleveland
Trends found on oddsshark.com:
- The Cavaliers are 2-4 ATS in their last six games overall
- The Cavaliers are 1-4 ATS in their last five home games
- The Cavaliers are 5-15 ATS in their last 20 versus a Western Conference opponent
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Pelicans are coming off a big win over one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, while the Cavaliers played possibly their worst game of the season on Saturday. The 135 points that they gave up was the second-most that Cleveland has given up all season. New Orleans has won seven of the last 10 games that they have played against Cleveland, covering the spread in seven of those 10 games. The Pelicans are outscoring the Cavaliers by an average of 10.7 points per game in their last 10 meetings. New Orleans is just outside of the top 10 in the Western Conference, so they can't afford to lose to a non-playoff team like Cleveland. The Pelicans have a top 10 offense, while the Cavaliers have the worst offensive team in the NBA. Look for New Orleans to win this game by double digits.
Full-Game Total Pick
Cleveland has scored 105 points or less in seven of their last 10 games, while New Orleans has scored 110 points or less in four of their last six games. The Cavaliers are the worst offensive team in the NBA, and these are the two worst foul shooting teams in the NBA. The last 10 meetings between these two teams have averaged 118.3 points per game. The total has gone under in 29 of Cleveland's 52 games this season. The first game that was played between these two teams this season had a total of just 198 points. Look for this to be a relatively low-scoring game on Sunday.