Game: New Orleans Pelicans @ Golden State Warriors
Time: 10:00 p.m.
Odds: Pelicans +8.5, Warriors -8.5
When the New Orleans Pelicans and Golden State Warriors wrap up their four-game season series tonight in San Francisco, NBA superstars Zion Williamson and Stephen Curry will have gone an entire regular season without facing each other.
The Pelicans (38-37) were without Williamson for the 38th consecutive game on Monday when they beat Portland 124-90. Williamson has been out with a strained right hamstring. He remains listed as out for tonight’s game, the second half of a back-to-back set.
Brandon Ingram poured in 29 points before calling it a night after just 31 minutes in the win. The victory moved the Pelicans within a half-game of the Warriors (39-37) and Minnesota Timberwolves (39-37) in a fight for the final guaranteed playoff spot in the West. Minnesota currently holds the crucial sixth position by virtue of the conference-record tiebreaker.
The Warriors were off on Monday recovering from their painful 99-96 home loss to the Timberwolves. When Golden State faced New Orleans back in November, the Pelicans swept a pair of games at home against the Warriors. Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Andrew Wiggins did not play in either of those games, which the Warriors lost by a combined 54 points.
Williamson, who could miss the rest of the regular season, wasn’t a big factor. He totaled 25 points and five rebounds in the two games. When the Warriors had Green and Thompson back — but still no Curry or Wiggins — they got a measure of revenge in a 108-99 home win over the Pelicans on March 3. Thompson led the way with 27 points.
Curry has since made a comeback, but he hasn’t been playing at his best lately, making just 2-for-8, 2-for-7, and 4-for-13 three-pointers in Golden State’s last three games. The Warriors won two of the three, including beating the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday to open a three-game homestand. Before Sunday’s loss to the Timberwolves at home, the Warriors had won nine straight games at the Chase Center.
The good news for the Warriors in the loss was the Golden State season debut of Gary Payton II, who was acquired from the Portland Trail Blazers in February while he was dealing with a strained adductor. He had nine points in 15 minutes against Minnesota.
The Pelicans remain without their equivalent to Payton — guard Jose Alvarado (stress reaction in right tibia) — as they continue a rugged schedule that will see them follow the Warriors’ game with matchups against the Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings, Memphis Grizzlies and New York Knicks. New Orleans finishes the season with Minnesota, who the Pelicans can tie with a victory tonight.
New Orleans has won their last five in a row, They are also 5-0 ATS in those five games. The Pelicans are only 6-12 SU in their last 18 against Golden State and 2-18 SU in their last 20 against the Warriors on the road.
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