NBA Picks: Winless Pelicans Man Up & Cover +4.5 Against Warriors

Matthew Jordan

Saturday, October 31, 2015 7:44 PM UTC

Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015 7:44 PM UTC

The Pelicans have been blown out in their first 2 games this season. Will things change against the reigning NBA champions in Saturday's opener? The Warriors are -4.5 on NBA odds with a total of 213.

Second Of Back-To-Back For Warriors
Golden State was a 1.5-point favorite on Friday night in Houston in a rematch of last season's Western Conference Finals and the Warriors trashed the Rockets 112-92. Steph Curry led the way with 25 points (in just 27 minutes), outscoring his 2014-15 NBA MVP runner-up James Harden by nine. No other Warrior had more than 14 points but 13 of them scored.

The champs played the Rockets without center Andrew Bogut, which doesn't mean much offensively but certainly does on defense and in rebounding. Bogut suffered a gash over his right eye and, more important, a  concussion against these Pelicans on opening night Tuesday in Oakland. It happened in the third quarter and Bogut didn't return. The good news is that Bogut, who didn't even travel to Houston, could return as soon as Monday against Memphis in another playoff rematch. Interesting that the Warriors' first four games this season are against teams they vanquished in last season's playoffs. Festus Ezeli and Marreese Speights continue to be in line for more minutes with Bogut out. Ezeli started vs. Houston and had nine points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes.

The Warriors are 2-0 against the spread on NBA odds and 0-2 'over/under.'


Pelicans Getting Torched Defensively
You can understand New Orleans losing its opener at Golden State, but Wednesday's 112-94 loss in Portland was perplexing. OK, the Pelicans were playing the second of a back-to-back, but Portland is expected to be one of the worst teams in the West this offseason after losing essentially everyone this offseason but Damian Lillard. The Trail Blazers led the game by as much as 30, although the Pelicans did make a late surge to get within eight. Anthony Davis had 25 points and 10 rebounds. Eric Gordon had 20, but no one else did much.

New Orleans didn't have starting point guard Jrue Holiday in Tuesday's opener as he's on a minutes limit of around 20 and won't play in both ends of a back-to-back. He did play 21 minutes vs. the Blazers and had 12 points and three assists. Starting center Omer Asik has missed the first two games with a right calf injury. There's a chance he plays Saturday. Ditto reserve forward Luke Babbitt, who has missed the first two with a left hamstring strain.

The Pelicans started Nate Robinson at point guard for Holiday in the opener and then used Robinson just four minutes off the bench against Portland. Apparently they didn't like what they saw as Robinson has been released and the team signed guard Toney Douglas. He is a good perimeter defender at least and that's clearly a need with Curry putting up 40 in the opener and then Portland's C.J. McCollum burning New Orleans for 37. Douglas, who was released by the Pacers on Monday, played in 12 games for New Orleans last season and averaged 4.3 points and 2.0 assists.

On NBA picks, the Pelicans are 0-2 ATS this season and 0-2 O/U.


First Meeting
The Warriors were 10.5-point favorites Tuesday with a total of 215 and won 111-95. Curry had those 40 points, the 10th 40-point game of his career, including 24 in the first quarter. But New Orleans was only down five after that quarter and 10 at halftime. Golden State put it away by outscoring the Pelicans 35-26 in the third. Bogut was 6-for-6 from the field with five rebounds and five assists before leaving with his injuries. The other three Warriors starters all struggled from the field and each made only three field goals apiece. Ezeli had 13 points to lead the reserves. Davis led the Pelicans with 18 points but was only 4-for-20 from the field. Gordon had 14 but was 5-for-17 from the field. Ish Smith, signed only Monday, had 17 points off the bench. Including playoffs, the Warriors have won 15 of the past 16 matchups with New Orleans but did lose their last regular-season meeting at the Smoothie King Center.

NBA Free Picks: Pelicans cover only as Warriors playing the second of a back-to-back. Go 'under' the total. New Orleans has covered six of its past seven at home. The 'under' has hit in five of the past six meetings. 

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