New Orleans Pelicans at Golden State Warriors (-11.5, 203.5 o/u)
The good news for the New Orleans Pelicans (45-37, 17-24 away) is the team squeaked into the playoffs with the No. 8 seed. The bad news is the squad now has to face the league’s top team, the Golden State Warriors (67-15, 39-2 home), in the first round, with Game 1 going today at Oracle Arena (3:30 p.m. Eastern).
Despite the tough first round matchup, Pelicans star Anthony Davis is celebrating his team’s 108-103 win over San Antonio that clinched the playoff spot.
“Honestly, I know I all told ya’ll before this game it didn’t mean nothing, but I tried to downplay it because I didn’t want to get too excited,” Davis said. “It meant a lot. And we played like it meant something. We played our hearts out.”
Davis played up to his star status, scoring 31 points and adding 13 rebounds.
“We went to [Davis] down the stretch and he came through on both ends of the floor,” Pelicans coach Monty Williams said.
Also playing a key role in the Pelicans win was Tyreke Evans (19 points and 11 assists), Eric Gordon (14 points), and Jrue Holiday (11 points).
Said Evans, “Since I’ve been in the league, I haven’t had a chance to play for anything, so tonight I wasn’t going to let nothing take it away.”
As for Golden State, the team ended its season with a 133-126 win over the Denver Nuggets.
MVP frontrunner Stephen Curry took some time to reflect on his team’s immaculate season after the game. “You kind of got to let it sink in, just how historic this season was when it comes to all the great teams that have suited up in this league. … We want to enjoy that. But it’s playoff time. We have to be ready.”
Despite the fact his team has the No. 1 seed, Golden State head coach Steve Kerr knows that New Orleans is a talented squad that will push his team to the limit.
“I like the challenge of having to play a good team right away,” Kerr said. “It’ll bring out the best in us. It’ll bring out our edge. We know what we’re up against.”
On the season, the Warriors were 3-1 against the Pelicans. Betting-wise, the Warriors were 26-14-1 ATS as a home favorite, but 11.5 points is a lot against a team as good as New Orleans, which posted a 15-11 ATS record as road dogs .
Given the strong play of Davis late, and the fact that the Pelicans are prone to going on big runs, the play here is the Pelicans and the points (+11.5); but taking New Orleans’ moneyline (+671) isn’t a terrible option, either.
(Photo credit: Keith Allison (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode]. Photo has been cropped.)