It’s only their third game of the season, but the New Orleans Pelicans (0-2) must already be sick of the Golden State Warriors (2-0). The team that unceremoniously swept them out of the playoffs last year also dominated them on opening night, winning a laugher, 111-95. The Pelicans will get a chance for some semblance of revenge when they host the reigning champs tonight (7:30 PM Eastern).
Steph Curry reminded everyone that you’ll have to pry the MVP from his cold, dead fingers on Tuesday, racking up 40 points in the opener, including 5 of 12 shooting from three. Meanwhile, Anthony Davis – who many thought would make an MVP case himself this year – was a dismal 4 of 20 from the field. Davis rebounded well in the next game against Portland (25 points on 10 of 17 from the field), but his team still fell behind 70-43 at the half en route to a 112 – 94 loss.
Needing a win in the worst way, home cooking could be just the recipe for the Pelicans. They posted a 28-13 record last season at the hilariously named Smoothie King Center. Of course, the Warriors went an incredible 28-13 on the road.
At least the Pelicans should have a full bench available. After having only nine men available in the opener, Omer Asik and Luke Babbitt should be back, giving extra size to a New Orleans squad that has been getting killed on the glass (losing the rebound battle 107-72 in its first two games).
Point guard Jrue Holiday (leg) will also be back in the lineup: he missed the opener because he hasn’t been cleared to play in back-to-back games yet. Nate Robinson filled in against the Warriors, recording zero points in 19 minutes of action.
Also working in the Pelicans favor is the fact that they’ll be catching the Warriors a day after they face the Houston Rockets in a massive showdown. The Warriors and Rockets will be battling for top spot in the West again this year, so New Orleans should be facing a tired bunch. Then again, in the latter half of back-to-backs last season, Curry averaged a lights out 28.3 points per game and shot 53.7-percent from three.
Dating back to 2013, Golden State has won 11 of the last 12 games straight up. Even though they’re traveling to the Big Easy on no rest, the Warriors are deep enough to not only win but cover.
Pick: Warriors -4.
(Photo Credit: Keith Allison (Cloudnet: ) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)