Game: New Orleans Pelicans @ Denver Nuggets
Time: 10:00 p.m.
Odds: Pelicans +7.5, Nuggets -7.5
The Denver Nuggets remain atop the Western Conference with a 34-16 record despite losing three of their last four games. Denver has lost two straight for just the second time this season. The last time they dropped consecutive games, it ignited a fire that resulted in 19 victories over a span of 22 games.
Denver has been among the best NBA teams this season since a strange three-game slide in early December. Tonight, they will host New Orleans, which is experiencing a slide of its own.
The Nuggets lost 107-99 at the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday when four of their five starters did not play. The following night, they were defeated 126-119 by the 76ers on the road in Philadelphia. Denver’s losing streak could have been four games if not for the Nuggets’ 99-98 win over this very same Pelicans team last Tuesday night. With 16.9 seconds left, Nikola Jokic, who had missed the previous two games due to a hamstring injury, made the game-winning shot in the lane to save the Nuggets.
The Nuggets, who blew a 15-point third-quarter lead against Philadelphia on Saturday, have four of their next five games at home, where they are 22-4 this season. They begin the stretch against a struggling New Orleans team that has plummeted to seventh place in the Western Conference after eight straight losses.
Injury problems have contributed to New Orleans’ struggles. While CJ McCollum (thumb) and Brandon Ingram (toe) were absent from Sunday’s 135-110 loss at Milwaukee, Zion Williamson (hamstring) hasn’t played since January 2 and is anticipated to remain sidelined until early February. After missing 29 games due to a toe injury, Ingram is anticipated to play on Tuesday, returning to the court for the third time in four games. McCollum is also listed as probable for tonight.
This is the third of four games between the Pelicans and Nuggets this season. On December 4, New Orleans defeated Denver 121-106 when the Nuggets were in the middle of their three-game losing streak. Denver has won seven of the last ten against the Pelicans. The Nuggets are 10-3 SU in their last 13 games and 16-1 SU in their last 17 at home.
In addition to being 0-8 SU, the Pelicans are 2-6 ATS in their last eight games. One positive for New Orleans is that they are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games against the Nuggets. The Pelicans have won just one of their last six road games.
New Orleans had been one of the top scoring teams in the NBA. Since Jan. 16, the Pelicans have reached 110 points just twice. In six of their last eight games, they have been held to 103 points or less. Four of the Pelicans’ last five games have gone Under the total. Eight of the last ten games in this series have gone Under. Eight of Denver’s last 11 games have gone Under the total.
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