NBA Picks: Are the Celtics Competitive Enough to Cover Against a Revamped Pelicans Defense?

Steven Suarez

Saturday, March 7, 2015 2:46 PM GMT

Not only have the Pelicans been playing great basketball, they also just had superstar Anthony Davis return from injury. Will New Orleans cover as the NBA odds-on favorites against the Celtics tonight?

Odds Overview
It's clear as day who the odds makers are liking tonight, as the Pelicans are favored by seven points across the NBA odds board at all the major sportsbooks. We'll keep monitoring the odds to see if there's any more movement, but New Orleans will come in as a sturdy favorite no matter what.

The O/U is currently trading at 200.5, with some sites offering 200. We know the Celtics love to play at a high tempo, but the Pelicans have been stepping up their game defensively, so we'll have to see which style wins out.

 

New Orleans Pelicans
What's the best way to bounce back after a four-game losing streak? How about going 6-1 over your next seven games? The Pelicans have been on a roll lately, picking up some nice wins over Miami (twice) and Toronto in the process

New Orleans now sits at 33-28 overall, which puts them just a half game back of Oklahoma City for the eighth spot in the Western Conference. It's going to be a tight race down the stretch, but the Pelicans are still in the postseason conversation, and assuming Anthony Davis can stay healthy and Jrue Holiday returns without a setback, they should be competing when it comes down to it. We saw what kind of impact Davis can have in the team's three-point win over Detroit on Wednesday.

Seemingly fully recovered from his shoulder issue, Davis went off for 39 points (17-of-30), 13 rebounds, eight blocks, three steals and two assists in one of his most dominant performances of the season. Tyreke Evans had a 21/9/4 line, while Alexis Ajinjca had a 11-point, 10-rebound double double off the bench. All is well for New Orleans ahead of this visit of Brad Stevens' Celtics.

 

Boston Celtics
If we simply look at Boston's performance in the month of February, we see mostly positive results. The Celtics have gone 8-5 so far this month, picking up wins over Atlanta and Phoenix among others, and are now 24-35 on the year. 

At 24-35 overall and only a couple games out of the eighth seed, Boston still has plenty to play for, and they'll come into Friday's game fresh off a hard-fought home win over the Jazz on Wednesday. It was actually the bench that made the biggest impact for Boston, as Isaiah Thomas scored a game-high 21 points in 26 minutes off the bench, with Jae Crowder chipping in with 18 points. Avery Bradley was the only other Celtic to score in double figures.

Ahead of Friday, Boston ranks 12th in points scored per game, 11th in rebounds per game, third in assists per game, and 25th in points allowed per contest. The Celtics have been playing at a frantic pace all season long and they've added a true offensive punch in Thomas who can take over games offensively. We'll have to see which Boston guys step up here tonight in the Big Easy.

 

NBA Pick
Though the Pelicans have been playing well and will be at home tonight, we think the Celtics will be able to keep it close enough in order to cover as seven-point dogs.

The thing about Boston is that they're feisty. Aside from a rare total letdown, like the one in Cleveland, the Celtics tend to be very competitive, and it helps that they're still very much in the playoff picture in the East.

New Orleans gets a boost with Davis back, and that's obvious, but Boston has enough talent to keep this game tight. With that said, we'll be adding the Celtics to our NBA picks for a busy Friday night.

NBA Pick: Boston Celtics +7 at The Greek