New Orleans Pelicans at San Antonio Spurs Preview
Just a week ago, the San Antonio Spurs were desperately looking for a win after a surprise loss to the Los Angeles Clippers and then blowing a big lead late in their game to lose to the Philadelphia 76ers. They got the win they needed against the New Orleans Pelicans, who they face at home tonight, and they hope the team they started their four-game win streak against is also the team that they extend it against.
The Spurs had to play several of those games without DeMar DeRozan as well, who made his return in their last game. The Pelicans, unfortunately, are not expected to be getting any of their injured players back.
San Antonio is fifth in the Western Conference with a 31-22 record and are 6-4 in their last 10. The Pelicans are 13th in the West with a 23-29 record, are 3-7 in their last 10 and have lost their most recent game.
In their last meeting on January 26, LaMarcus Aldridge led San Antonio to a 126-114 win with 28 points and 12 rebounds. Jrue Holiday had 29 points for the Pelicans. The Pelicans won the first matchup of the season in November with a 140-126 win, so the season series lead is up for grabs tonight.
Time: 8:30pm ET
Arena: AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
Channel: FSSW-SA, FSNO
New Orleans Pelicans Starting Lineup
As if the Anthony Davis news was not enough, the New Orleans Pelicans have been ravaged by injuries and have been without Davis, Julius Randle, Nikola Mirotic, Elfrid Payton and E’Twaun Moore.
Yet without several of their best players, Jrue Holiday and Jahlil Okafor have done well with a skeleton crew splitting their last two games, a 121-116 surprise win over the Rockets and nearly upsetting the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night in a 99-105 loss.
Losing by six in a game where Nikola Jokic goes for a triple-double and with so many injuries has to equal to a moral victory somewhere, especially against a team who was number one in the West at the time.
Against Denver, Holiday led the Pelicans with 22 points and six assists, and Okafor continued his hot streak with 14 points and eight rebounds.
But enough can’t be said about the contributions from Darius Miller, who had 15 points, Frank Jackson, who finished with nine and the surprise player of them all if Okafor wasn’t already up for that title, rookie Kenrich Williams. The 6-7 wing averages three points per game, but he broke out for 21 points, eight rebounds, and two blocked shots. In the win over Houston, he had eight points and 16 rebounds.
The TCU alumnus and Waco, TX native will likely have a nice family and fan audience in San Antonio tonight, and the Pelicans will likely call on him again. He hasn’t made even a blip on the radar all season and has played sparingly and with little playing time, but he’s made the most of an opportunity.
San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup
The Spurs have crawled up the rankings thanks to their four-game winning streak. They’ve had a pretty kind schedule with several teams under .500 in that run, but they were able to get past a 28-25 Brooklyn Nets team on Thursday night that has looked very good as of late and has played spoiler to a few unsuspecting teams.
The game marked DeMar DeRozan’s return to the lineup and he didn’t miss a beat, finishing the night with 15 points and 10 rebounds. His shooting percentages have still fallen off quite a bit, but he also started the season off on an unreal streak where he often led the Spurs in points, assists and was one of the top rebounders.
The story of the game, however, was second-year player Derrick White. I’ve mentioned White several times this season. The jump he has taken from his rookie year, where he spent more time with the Spurs’ G-League team, has been astronomical. With the Spurs losing a player in Dejounte Murray who was poised to have a breakout year, not many expected White to be able to fill the void so well. He’s averaging nearly 10 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game, but in the last month he has gone well beyond that and he has emerged as the Spurs’ best perimeter defender, using lessons he said he has learned from Danny Green.
He was overlooked for the Rising Stars Challenge, but it’s going to be hard to overlook him much more. Against the Nets, he scored 26 points and added six assists and three rebounds. He has been incredibly poised running the point and seems to have a firm grasp on controlling pace, while making the right cuts when he needs to drive or passing when that’s a better option. He’ll have a tough matchup in Jrue Holiday tonight, but White has done well against some of the better guards in the league this season.
New Orleans Pelicans at San Antonio Spurs Betting Odds
San Antonio is favored by 10.5 points to win tonight’s game at home against the undermanned Pelicans. The over/under is 231 points and the moneyline has seen just slight movement with the Spurs at -600 after opening at -550. New Orleans is 25-15-12 against the spread while the Spurs are 31-12-10.
The Spurs are 21-7 at home and 19-9 as the favorite, while the Pelicans are 8-20 on the road and 7-18 as the underdog.
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