The New Orleans Pelicans and Denver Nuggets square off at Ball Arena in what should be an entertaining contest. The Nuggets are coming off an easy 120-96 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night. It was a textbook win for the Nuggets, as pretty well everything came together for them in that contest. If they needed offense it was there, and their defense stepped up to contain Ja Morant. The Grizzlies were on a back-to-back in that contest. It was clear that they didn’t have the extra gear in them that they had the night before. Denver advanced to 40-21 on the season with the win. The top of the West consists of the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, and LA Clippers.
The absence of Lebron James and Anthony Davis has made the Western Conference look a lot different this season. Davis is back following a long layoff, though Lebron is still working himself back into the lineup. It’s not going to be fair to the team they play in the first-round of the playoffs. They could be the sixth or fifth seed, but a team that could have easily competed for first if healthy. That’s a bad break for their opponent. It’s possible that the Nuggets and Lakers meet early in the playoffs. I’m not sure the Nuggets care to be rewarded with a matchup against the Lakers for their solid effort in the regular season.
There is something missing from the Nuggets. If only they had a healthy Jamal Murray paired with Nikola Jokic. That’s not happening this season, as Murray has been ruled OUT for the year with a torn ACL. It’s a horrible break for a Nuggets team that is watching Jokic have an MVP season. Put Murray on the court with Jokic in this form and the Nuggets have a case for easily being ahead of the Clippers right now for second. They did well by acquiring Aaron Gordon from the Magic when they had their fire sale. However, there is no replacing Murray on the floor for the Nuggets, at least on a consistent basis.
The Pelicans are in Denver to begin a three-game road trip and a back-to-back situation tonight. They’ll head to Oklahoma following this game for a Thursday night meeting versus the Thunder. Important games are ahead for the Pels. It’s now or never if they want to go to the playoffs. They arrived early in Denver to prepare for this game, and I think the Pelicans are aware it’s time to go on a run or they’re done. The Pelicans are 11th with a record of 27-34 to put them 3.5 games behind the Warriors for the final play-in tournament spot. Head below for our free Pelicans vs. Nuggets pick on April 28, 2021.
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Denver Nuggets NBA Betting Odds:
Pelicans vs. Nuggets Prediction:
For some teams on the play-in tournament bubble, I don’t think it’s so important that they go to the playoffs. However, for the Pelicans, who has a bevy of young talent, it’s certainly important to give them minutes during important basketball. It would do them well to go to the playoffs. They’ve taken strides in the right direction this year, and it was on display against the Clippers in their most recent outing.
The Pelicans beat the Clippers, 120-103, in a dominant display on Monday. What I’ve most been impressed with for the Pelicans lately has been their defensive effort. The Pels have allowed 100, 110, and 103 points in their last three tilts. There is work left to be done in the offseason, but their defense has at least shown some life this season.
Their defense has matched up fairly well with the Nuggets. In their last four meetings, the Pelicans have held the Nuggets to fewer than 115 points with 100, 113, 108, and 113 points. That doesn’t look like a lot, but against the Nuggets it’s fairly impressive.
The Nuggets have one of the more underrated defenses in the NBA. When people think of the Nuggets, they think Jokic and offense, but their defense is good enough to carry them as well. The Nuggets are a top-10 defense with an average of 110.2 points against per game. Their offense is certainly quality, too, having recorded an average of 115.5 points per game for fourth in the league.
Having said that, the UNDER has gone 4-0 in their last four meetings against the Pelicans, and 6-1 in the last seven. In two matchups in March, the Nuggets beat the Pels 113-108, and the Pels beat the Nuggets, 113-108. In the last four meetings, an average of 218.25 points has been scored in total between the two teams. I know the Pelicans and Nuggets can score, but this total looks too inflated. I like the UNDER to come through.