Following their dominant victory against the Rockets, the New Orleans Pelicans will look to get a second straight win this Friday.
However, it won’t be easy. The Pels will face a red-hot Brooklyn Nets team led by the All-Star duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
In the last month, the Nets have won 16 of 18 and put together a streak of 12 straight wins. That streak came to an end Wednesday night when the Nets fell to the Bulls 121-112. The Pelicans will likely be without their two stars again, as Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram are still recovering from their injuries.
A win here would be huge for New Orleans, as they sit one game behind the first and second spots in the Western Conference.
Here is everything you need to know before the game Friday night.
Keys to Victory
The Pelicans are going to need a good performance to beat Brooklyn.
Offensively, they need to shoot the ball well. Knocking down open threes and getting buckets in transition will be very important for New Orleans. Assuming they continue their level of play from Wednesday night, they should be alright.
Defensively, the Pelicans need to slow down Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
These two have been on a tear recently and both have given the Pelicans problems in the past. If either one goes for a big night, it could really hurt New Orleans.
The game plan should be to put the ball in someone else’s hands. Let Ben Simmons or Seth Curry beat them, not the future Fall of Famer.
Finally, the X Factor in this game is Jonas Valanciunas.
He will have a mismatch down low with Claxton on him. Valanciunas should eat inside and grab a lot of rebounds.
Something to Watch
These two teams last met on the opening night of the NBA season.
As many remember, the Pelicans won in dominating fashion. Everything seemed to go their way and New Orleans was in control from start to finish.
However, we did not see much of rookie Dyson Daniels, who only played three minutes.
This will not be the case in Friday’s game.
It is worth watching what type of role he will have. Daniels could be given a big task defensively as he may have to guard Durant or Irving at points during the match.
The rookie has been fantastic thus far for New Orleans. It will be interesting to see how he handles his role tomorrow night against some of the league’s best.
Most Pelicans love to look back on the last meeting between these two franchises. It was game one of this season, following their playoff battle vs. Phoenix.
New Orleans dominated the Nets. They got off to a big lead early and maintained it for the rest of the night.
Brandon Ingram led the Pelicans in scoring with 28, although Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum were not too far behind with 25 and 21.
Odds and Spread, Over/Under
Fanduel has the Brooklyn Nets at 4-point favorites over the Pelicans. They have also listed the over/under line at 231.
There is a ton of value in the Pelicans at +4 and I think that is the smartest pick. I would also lean towards the over, as both offenses will likely post big numbers offensively.
Questionable: Larry Nance Jr (Right shoulder soreness)
Questionable: Willy Hernangomez (Left ankle sprain)
Out: Brandon Ingram (Toe contusion)
Questionable: TJ Warren (Rib contusion)
I believe that the Pelicans will surprise the NBA community tonight. Without their two stars, I predict that New Orleans takes care of business against the Nets and pick up their second straight win.
New Orleans 121, Brooklyn 113