New Orleans Pelicans at Dallas Mavericks (-7, 197.5 o/u)
The New Orleans Pelicans (32-27, 12-17 away) have managed to fly straight despite losing several key pieces to injury over the last few weeks. Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson, and Jrue Holiday – who combine to average 53.7 PPG – are all sidelined at the moment, yet the Pelicans are soaring, winning five straight while averaging 102 PPG.
“[Winning] takes the pressure off of [the injured players] right now,” said New Orleans forward Dante Cunningham. “This allows them to completely heal up and not necessarily rush back or think they have to be here for the team right now. As much as we love and want them back, we’re holding it down right now until they get back.”
The Pelicans, who are just half a game back of Oklahoma City for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, are hoping to add to their win streak in Dallas against the Mavericks (39-22, 20-10 home).
The Mavericks are also dealing with health issues at the moment. Both Tyson Chandler and Chandler Parsons are out tonight with injuries. Playing shorthanded has impacted the Mavs more than the Pelicans; the team has dropped two straight to Atlanta and Brooklyn and is playing just .500 ball over its last eight.
“We’ve had guys miss games all year and we’ve had people step up. Tonight, everybody from top to bottom just struggled to step up to the level that we needed,” said Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle after a 104-94 loss to the Nets on Saturday.
Dallas point guard Rajon Rondo had eight points, seven rebounds, and six assists in his first game back after being suspended by the team for an on-court argument with Carlisle.
The Mavericks remain sixth in the Western Conference, two games up on San Antonio and half a game back of the Clippers.
Even though Dallas is only 5-4-1 ATS in its last ten games (and 29-30-2 on the season), the Pelicans are shorthanded again, and they’ll eventually start to feel it. Furthermore, New Orleans isn’t facing a lottery team like Nuggets. They’re facing a playoff team in a dogfight for seeding. I like the Mavericks, laying the points (-7).
(Photo credit: Keith Allison from Baltimore, USA (00033631) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)