The daily preview it to the rim with NBA tips as Western Conference foes New Orleans Pelicans and Phoenix Suns complete their regular season series.
11:00 (AEDT), Wed 16th Mar @ Smoothie King Center, New Orleans
History: Played 67: Suns 35 V Pelicans 32
Last meeting: February 25, 2022: Pelicans 117 V Suns 102 at Footprint Center
Final Thoughts: Phoenix Suns are coasting towards the top seed in the NBA Playoffs, while New Orleans Pelicans are striving for their place in the play-in tournament.
The Suns have won seven of their last 10 against the Pelicans, including a 112-100 victory at home in November and a 123-110 result in New Orleans in January. But the Pels bounced back with a 117-102 upset in Phoenix last month. CJ McCollum (32 pts), Brandon Ingram (28 pts, 7 ast) and Jonas Valanciunas (18 pts, 17 reb) led the way. Devin Booker scored 30 points in a losing effort.
The 54-14 Suns hold a 7.5-game lead at the top of the Western Conference and have won five of their last seven games. After a 117-112 loss to the Raptors, last year’s NBA Finalists decimated the Lakers 140-111 on Monday (AEDT).
The Suns led by 26 at the end of the first quarter and never looked back. Booker (30 pts, 10 ast, 4 stl) and big man Deandre Ayton (23 pts, 16 reb) were both outstanding as they progress comfortably with Chris Paul on the injured list.
The 28-40 Pelicans are 10th in the West with a 1.5-game buffer ahead of the Blazers. They snapped a four-game losing streak with a 130-105 blowout of the Rockets on Monday (AEDT). Big man Valunciunas (32 pts, 10 reb) dominated and Jose Alvarado (16 pts, 10 ast, 6 stl) made a massive contribution off the bench.
It was a confidence-boosting performance without their two best players, big trade acquisition McCollum (COVID-19 protocols) and Ingram (hamstring). McCollum is questionable to face the Suns, while Ingram is not expected back for another few days at least.
The Pelicans are 16-19 at home (18-16-1 ATS), winning three of their five games at Smoothie King Center so far in March. The Suns are an outstanding 25-6 on the road (19-12 ATS), winning six of their last seven away from Phoenix.
Maintaining such a high level of intensity and consistency may prove challenging for the front-running Suns over the last four weeks of the season, given the buffer they enjoy. But they should nevertheless cover against a weakened Pelicans line-up with a modest line set.
Best Bet: Handicap – Suns -5 @ $1.80