A shocking home win against the Dallas Mavericks without their three best players should increase the New Orleans Pelicans’ confidence even higher. Now, the Pels will head to Phoenix to take on the Suns in a rematch of last season’s playoff series. Check out my prediction for the game as well as the projected starting lineups, current odds, and updated injury status for players such as Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Herb Jones!
New Orleans Pelicans Vs. Phoenix Suns Betting Odds
New Orleans is a six-point road dog against the Suns in Phoenix. Brandon Ingram will not be available for this matchup. When I wrote this preview, Herb Jones, Zion Williamson, and many other players were listed as questionable. The Phoenix Suns won’t have Jae Crowder and Ish Wainwright but are entirely healthy and available besides those two.
New Orleans Pelicans Vs. Phoenix Suns Prediction
This is starting to look like a “punt” game for the New Orleans Pelicans. Brandon Ingram is listed as out due to the concussion he recently sustained. At the same time, C.J. McCollum, Dyson Daniels, Jose Alvarado, Zion Williamson, and Herb Jones are all questionable to suit up for the Pels.
New Orleans snuck away with an impressive two-point home win against the Dallas Mavericks without Zion, Jones, and Ingram, but it probably doesn’t like its odds without those three on the road against the Phoenix Suns, who just pummeled Golden State at home.
There’s still plenty of time before tip-off, though, so it’s entirely possible the Pels won’t punt it and will play most of the players mentioned above; however, that is my gut reaction to the injury report.
On the other hand, Phoenix has a very healthy roster right now. The Suns have bulldozed the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers in their past two games; their only loss came to the Portland Trail Blazers in overtime on the road. Phoenix could just as easily be 4-0.
Phoenix ranks third in defensive and seventh in offensive rating while also sitting at sixth in total rebounding percentage. The Suns have another level of play that they haven’t unlocked yet, and we could see it in this matchup. I’ll stick with Phoenix against the spread, assuming Zion Williamson is still out with a hip injury.
- New Orleans is 2-0 ATS on the road in 2022-23
- Phoenix is 1-1 ATS at home in 2022-23
The key matchup between Phoenix and New Orleans will be the battle between both teams in the paint. That battle will include these players: Jonas Valanciunas, Zion Williamson (if he plays), Deandre Ayton, Larry Nance, Jaxson Hayes, and Jock Landale.
Battle of the Paint
Phoenix and New Orleans are two differently structured teams. The Suns start a smaller lineup with Cam Johnson, a perimeter-oriented player, at the four, while the Pels have two interior-based players, Zion and Valanciunas, in the lineup simultaneously.
New Orleans ranks second in the NBA in points in the paint per game, despite being without Zion last game; its interior dominance was on full display the first few games. Meanwhile, Phoenix ranks right outside the top ten in opponent points in the paint per game and 28th in blocks per game.
The Pelicans should have their way in the paint if Zion plays; however, their biggest strength (interior dominance) will be mitigated if he’s unavailable, giving Phoenix an advantage in most other areas of the game.
New Orleans Pelicans Starting Lineup
Phoenix Suns Starting Lineups
New Orleans Pelicans Injuries: Brandon Ingram (Out), Zion Williamson (Q), Herb Jones (Q), Kira Lewis Jr (Out), E.J. Liddell (Out), Jose Alvarado (Q), C.J. McCollum (Q), Dyson Daniels (Q)
Phoenix Suns Injuries: Jae Crowder (Out)