The NBA is set up with another great night of action on January 2. Six games will be up on the board throughout Saturday. One of those games will be between the Toronto Raptors and the New Orleans Pelicans. These two teams are on opposite starts to the season, but will look for a big win in this one. This game will tip off at around 7:30 PM Eastern time.
The Raptors have earned a record of 1-3 to open up the new season, which has them sitting in thirteenth place of the Eastern Conference. The Raptors are coming off their first win of the season and will look to build upon it in this one. Toronto has struggled early after making it to the second round of the playoffs a season ago.
New Orleans has put up a record of 3-2 throughout the early stages of this season, which has them tied for fourth place in the Western Conference. The Pelicans have been in a win one lose one situation early in this season and will look to break through with their second straight win in this one. New Orleans is coming off a disappointing finish last season missing the playoffs and will look to keep the hot start up.
These two teams have had opposite starts to the new season, but I still expect a great game on Saturday night. Toronto is better than their early season record implies and I think that the Pelicans are ready to make a playoff push in the West. I expect both teams to come out hot in this one as they try to set the pace early on Saturday night.
The Raptors and the Pelicans met up twice throughout last season. Toronto hosted the first game on October 22 to open up both teams’ seasons. Brandon Ingram finished with 22 points, while J.J. Redick scored 16 points. Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam both finished with 34 points. Siakam also earned 18 rebounds, while Kyle Lowry scored 22 points. The Raptors earned a 130-122 win in overtime to open the season.
The second meeting of the season shifted to New Orleans on November 8. Brandon Ingram had another big night scoring 27 points. Jrue Holiday also dropped 16 points, but it was not enough. Pascal Siakam scored 44 points and 10 rebounds. OG Anunoby scored 21 points, while Norman Powell added 18 points off the bench. Toronto was able to finish with a 122-104 win.
Toronto and New Orleans met up to open up this season as well on December 23 in Toronto. Pascal Siakam scored 20 points, while Kyle Lowry finished with 18 points and 10 assists. Brandon Ingram finished with 24 points and 11 assists. J.J. Redick scored 23 points off the bench, while Eric Bledsoe added 18 points of his own. The Pelicans were able to earn a 113-99 win to open the new season.
These two teams met up twice early in the 2019-20 season, with the Raptors earning a win in both games. The Pelicans switched things up early in this season with a win against Toronto to open up the new season. New Orleans will look to repeat that success to sweep the season series against the Raptors. If Toronto can come out quicker in this one, they can bounce back with a big win.
Kyle Lowry has helped lead the Raptors early in the season. Lowry is averaging 19.5 points and 8.5 assists per game. Pascal Siakam has averaged 18.5 points and 9 rebounds per game. Fred VanVleet is averaging 17.5 points per game, while OG Anunoby and Chris Boucher are both averaging around 11 points per game.
Brandon Ingram has stepped up for New Orleans early in the season. Ingram is averaging 22.5 points and 7 rebounds per game. Zion Williamson has averaged 19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Lonzo Ball is averaging 12 points per game, while Eric Bledsoe has averaged 11 points per game since joining the Pelicans this season.
These two teams have had their stars step up early in the season to help lead them. New Orleans needs to see a bit more production from Steven Adams and J.J. Redick if they want to earn a playoff spot in the West. Pascal Siakam has had a solid start to the season, but will need to do a bit better if the Raptors want to turn things around.
Field Goal Shooting
The Raptors have not shot well to open up the new season. Toronto has made around 41.3 percent of their shots from the field, which is 29th in the NBA. The Raptors have also made 34.2 percent of their shots from behind the arc, which is 20th. Toronto is shooting 48.9 percent in tight, which is 27th in the league this season.
New Orleans has not been great shooting the ball either this season. The Pelicans have made around 45.2 percent of their shots from the field, which is 19th in the NBA. New Orleans has made 31.1 percent of their shots from deep, which is 29th in the league. The Pelicans have made 54.1 percent of their shots inside the arc, which is 10th best in the NBA.
Neither of these two teams have been efficient shooters this season, but they both have been solid defensively. Toronto has been lock down from deep, which could cause issues for the Pelicans. If the Raptors are ready for New Orleans inside the arc, they will be able to defend it easier. If New Orleans can enforce their pace on defense though, it could be an issue for Toronto.
The Raptors have not had a great start to this season, but I believe they will have a great chance to earn their second win of the season against the Pelicans. New Orleans is struggling as well shooting this season and if Toronto can shoot well early in this contest, it could shift the tides. I expect the Raptors to try and move the ball early to find open shots to get an advantage of the Pelicans.
BetOnline has Toronto listed as a -1 ½ against the spread in this one. This gives a slight edge to the Raptors on the road, which I agree with. Toronto is much better than this early season record implies and I think they will turn it around. The Raptors will look to move their offense more through Siakam to open up VanVleet and Lowry. If Toronto can come out quicker in this one, they should be able to earn the win.