It’s possible that the Pelicans & Warriors meet in the first round of the 2015 NBA playoffs. So that means that Friday’s meeting could be a playoff preview. The Warriors are big favorite on NBA odds.
The New Orleans Pelicans Can Win Because…
They’ve been playing pretty well…assuming that Anthony Davis is in the lineup. Although he missed the team’s latest outing, they had won four of five. Overall, the Pelicans have really come on since the All-Star break. They were just 27-27 in the middle of February but have going 10-4 over their last 14 games. They are starting to emerge as a quality team in the Western Conference and much of that has to do with the play of Davis, who is a legitimate MVP frontrunner. He’s averaging 29.3 points per game, 11.3 rebounds and 4.7 blocks over his last seven. That’s incredible.
One of the reasons the Pelicans have been playing better is their defense. They have allowed just 94.9 points per game over their last 15, which puts them among the league leaders. They’ll need to rely on that to stay strong as they’ve allowed an average of 120.0 points per game in two matchups with the Warriors so far.
The Golden State Warriors Can Win Because…
The Pelicans don’t look like they’ll be healthy. The Warriors are posted as a 13-point favorite, which implies that Davis isn’t expected to play. On the season, the Pelicans are 6-7 without Davis but most of that was built up in a recent hot stretch. Really, they’re not a very good team when he’s in the lineup. Can you blame them? If you remove an MVP off of any team, they’ll experience a drop-off.
Compounding their problems is the fact that Omer Asik might also be out after suffering a calf strain against Phoenix on Thursday. Speaking of that loss, the Pelicans managed just 72 points in that game and played last night. That means they’re in a back-to-back situation, shorthand and on little rest.
That’s a problem considering they are facing the NBA’s best team who is also an NBA-best 31-2 at home. The Warriors have already won both meetings with the Pelicans this season with an average winning margin of 16.5. One of those wins was a six-point victory in New Orleans without Davis. Now that they’re a NBA odds favorite at home and facing a Pelicans team likely to be without him again, the Warriors should roll.
Look for Golden State to take this matchup seriously even if Davis is out. This is a potential first-round playoff series preview and the Warriors don’t want to open a crack for the Pelicans to think they have a shot at winning that series. If Davis and Asik are out, the Warriors should roll to an easy win and cover. Take them with your NBA picks.
Free NBA Pick: Warriors -13 at The Greek