The NBA has a nice slate of games set up throughout the night on Friday. Eleven games will be up on the board throughout the night of January 24. One of these games will be between the Denver Nuggets and the New Orleans Pelicans. Both teams could be in a playoff spot come April, which could lead to a good one. This game will start at around 8:00 PM Eastern time.
The Nuggets have earned a record of 30-14 to open up the season, which has them sitting in fourth place of the Western Conference. Denver is only one game behind the Utah Jazz for the second seed and half a game back on the Los Angeles Clippers. The Nuggets have lost two of their last three games coming into this one and will look to bounce back with a nice win on Friday night.
New Orleans has put up a record of 17-28 throughout the season so far. The Pelicans are currently in twelfth place of the Western Conference. New Orleans is only four games outside of the final playoff spot, which is held by the San Antonio Spurs. The Pelicans are coming off a loss, but have won five of their last eight. New Orleans will look to keep it rolling with a win at home against Denver.
The Nuggets have had the better start to the season so far, sitting in fourth of the Conference, but New Orleans is still very much in the thick of the playoff hunt. I expect both teams to come out quick in this one. This will be their third and final game of the season series, so they have a good feel for each other, which should lead to some early action.
The Nuggets and the Pelicans already met up twice throughout the season series. The first game of the season series was in New Orleans on October 31. Michael Porter Jr. dropped 15 points off the bench. Denver’s bench combined for 59 points, but it wasn’t enough. Jalil Okafor put up 26 points, while Brandon Ingram had 25 points. The Pelicans were able to finish with a 122-107 win at home.
The second game of the season series shifted to Denver on December 25. Nikola Jokic earned 23 points and 10 rebounds, while Jerami Grant had 17 points off the bench, but it was not enough. Brandon Ingram earned 31 points. Jrue Holiday put up another 20 points to help lead New Orleans to another 112-100 win over the Nuggets.
Despite Denver’s success over the last couple of seasons, the Pelicans have been able to win three games in a row against the Nuggets. New Orleans and Denver split the season series 2-2 last season as well. The Nuggets have not been able to consistently beat the Pelicans and will look to avoid the season series sweep on Friday night.
Field Goal Shooting
Denver’s field goal shooting has been off to a strong start this season. The Nuggets have made around 46.3 percent of their shots from the field. Denver has shot 34.6 percent from deep, which is near the bottom of the league. The Nuggets have made 52.1 percent of their shots from inside the arc, which is around middle of the NBA.
The Pelicans have been a little below the middle of the NBA when it comes to field goal shooting. New Orleans has made around 45.4 percent of their shots from the field. The Pelicans are sixth in the NBA in shooting from behind the arc, making 37 percent of their shots from deep. New Orleans has made 51.5 percent of their shots inside the arc, which is 21st in the league.
The Nuggets have been the better team from the field overall, but New Orleans has done extremely well from deep. Denver has the second best three point defense, holding opposing teams to a 33.4 percent from behind the arc. The Nuggets have the better defense in this matchup, and they will look to slow down New Orleans offense to give them the win.
Nikola Jokic has helped lead the Nuggets throughout this season. Jokic has averaged around 19.5 points, 10 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game. Will Barton has averaged 15 points per game this season. Gary Harris is questionable in this game. He is averaging 11 points per game, while Jerami Grant has averaged 10.5 points per game.
Brandon Ingram has averaged 25.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game this season. Zion Williamson finally made his debut in their last matchup and dropped 22 points. Jrue Holiday has averaged 20 points per game. J.J. Redick is averaging 15.5 points per game. Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, E’Twaun Moore and Derrick Favors are all averaging 10 points per game or more.
Denver has been hit hard with the injury bug. The Nuggets are missing Paul Millsap, Jamal Murray, Mason Plumlee and Michael Porter Jr. The Nuggets still have a strong lineup with these guys missing and could earn a win if they can get some players to step up. The Pelicans have a lot of hype around their team with Williamson making his debut and will look to pull off the win.
New Orleans has been able to earn a win in the first two games against the Nuggets, but I believe that Denver will bounce back with a big win on Friday night. The Nuggets have a strong defense and should be able to slow down the Pelicans offense. If Denver can have some players step up in the injured players absence, I think they will earn a big win on the road.
BetOnline has New Orleans listed as a -160 against the money line. This implies that the Pelicans will win this game around 61.5 percent of the time. I believe that this line should be closer to even. Denver has been the better team this season and I think that New Orleans is a little overhyped with the debut of Zion Williamson. I think that the Nuggets will avoid the series sweep with a win on Friday night.