Pick Warriors -8.5 Over Pelicans in TNT Late Game

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 9:01 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014 9:01 PM UTC

Two of the top NBA MVP candidates, Anthony Davis and Stephen Curry, face off for the first time this season in TNT late game as Pelicans visits Warriors that opened as 8.5-point favorites NBA odds.

The Brow Is Dominating!
I don't think you would get any argument that New Orleans forward Anthony Davis is the third-best player in the NBA overall and that he is quickly closing the gap on No. 1 LeBron James and No. 2 Kevin Durant. Being as Durant just debuted this year off an injury Tuesday, he's not going to repeat at the league MVP. So Davis, in just his third year, could win it. He's currently the +300 third-favorite at sportsbooks with James No. 1 at +140.

Davis, just 21, is averaging 24.9 points (fourth in the NBA; on terrific .556 shooting), 11.3 rebounds (eighth in league), 3.1 blocks (first) and 2.3 steals per game (third). Sorry, LeBron and Curry, Davis has been the best player through about 20 percent of the schedule.

Alas, the Pelicans still are treading water at 8-8. A .500 record might get you a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference but you aren't going to make the playoffs in the West. New Orleans felt it was ready for the next step and traded a first-round pick this offseason to Houston for center Omer Asik to take some rebounding and defensive pressure of Davis. Asik has been about as expected, averaging 7.6 points and 10.1 rebounds, although he has missed four games.

The main problem has been the loss of starting guard Eric Gordon. The guy just can't stay healthy and now he's dealing with a torn labrum that could require season-ending surgery. The Pelicans are 1-3 since he went out. Because of the hole at shooting guard, and the fact that former first-round Austin Rivers wasn't cutting it there in Gordon's spot, Coach Monty Williams inserted seldom-used forward Luke Babbitt into the starting five Tuesday against Oklahoma City and shifted Tyreke Evans from small forward to shooting guard. It worked as New Orleans ended a three-game losing streak with a 112-104 win in Durant's return. Babbitt didn't do much with six points and two rebounds in 15 minutes, but Evans blew up with 30 points. Davis was awesome as usual with 25 points, 10 rebounds, six steals, four assists and four blocks. That's filling a stat sheet.

Thursday's game in Oakland starts a three-game trek through California for the Pelicans, who only miss the Kings. New Orleans is 8-8 against the NBA odds at sportsbooks this season and 10-6 'over/under.'


Hot Curry
As for Curry, he's off to the best start of his career and is the +200 second-favorite at sportsbooks to win NBA MVP. Curry is fifth in the league in scoring at 23.7 points per game, and he did something in Tuesday's 98-97 home win over Orlando he never had before. Curry hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds left as Golden State won its 10th straight game. Curry, probably the NBA's best pure shooter, had been 0-for-7 on go-ahead 3-pointers in the final minute of the fourth quarter or overtime in his career, including a miss a bit earlier vs. Orlando. Golden State had lost those other six games.

Curry, who finished with 22 points, wasn't even a lock to play as he had been dealing with a sprained ankle. Fellow guard Klay Thompson also was a game-time call with a bruised right quadriceps but suited up and had 20 points. The Warriors thought that forward David Lee was close to playing for the first time since Nov. 5, but he was re-evaluated Tuesday and will miss at least another week with his hamstring problem. Draymond Green has played really well in Lee's spot. He had 11 points, seven rebounds and six helpers vs. the Magic despite hurting his thumb in the first quarter. He left briefly and had it taped and returned. X-rays revealed nothing serious so Green should play.

Tuesday was only the second time in the 10-game run that Golden State was held under 101 points. The Warriors are third in the NBA in scoring yet also seventh in points allowed. No wonder they are a stellar 15-2.  Golden State is 11-6 against the spread on NBA odds and 7-10 'over/under.'

Last Season
Golden State swept New Orleans 3-0, with just one game decided by less than 10 points. Curry averaged a team-high 24.0 points, 9.3 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 3.3 steals. Thompson averaged 15.3 points and 5.0 assists against the Pelicans. Davis averaged 22.5 points (.654 shooting) and 14.0 rebounds in two games. Overall, the Warriors have won seven straight in the series, not a bad record to take in consideration when making your NBA pick for this game.

Free NBA pick: Warriors -8.5 on NBA odds and 'over' 206. New Orleans is 1-4 ATS in its past five after a win and in past five against teams with a winning record. The Warriors are 9-2 ATS in their past 11 following an ATS loss like Tuesday's. The 'over' is 4-1 in New Orleans' past five vs. the West. 

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