Game: New Orleans Pelicans @ Phoenix Suns
Time: 10:00 p.m. ET
Odds: Pelicans +9.5, Suns -9.5
The Phoenix Suns are the favorite to win an NBA title and for good reason. This is a team built for a championship. They set a franchise record for regular season wins with 64 despite playing on autopilot for most of the second half of the season. Phoenix started slowly in Game 1 of this series, built a big lead, then fought off a comeback attempt by New Orleans to win 110-99. Chris Paul led the Suns with 30 points and 10 assists. Paul’s 17 points in a five-minute stretch in the fourth quarter put the game out of reach.
What makes Phoenix so difficult to beat is that they are an elite team on both ends of the floor. The Suns are the only NBA team to rank in the top-5 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. It showed in Game 1. On the defensive end, Mikal Bridges held his opposition to just 2-of-16 shooting. Bridges is a finalist for the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award. Along with Bridges, Deandre Ayton had four blocks and nine rebounds and Paul added three steals. That’s why Phoenix was able to hold New Orleans to just 99 points.
New Orleans will need to get a bit more out of its duo of C.J. McCollum and Brandon Ingram. McCollum had 25 points in Game 1 but shot just 9-of-25 from the floor. Ingram had just 18 points and added five rebounds and four assists. Both players, as well as their teammates, are going to have to step it up if the Pelicans are going to have any chance at evening this series.
With its win and cover in Game 1, Phoenix is now 3-1 ATS in its last four games and 45-38 for the season. New Orleans is 2-3 ATS in its last five games and just 1-5 SU and ATS in its last six games against the Suns. Both teams have been trending Under recently. The Under is now 6-0 in Phoenix’s last six games. New Orleans has been one of the top Under teams in the league this season. Their season O/U record is 34-51 and 12 of their last 16 games resulted in the Under. The Under has also been the trend in Pelicans road games. Eight of the last ten New Orleans road games have gone Under the total.
Tonight’s total of 221.5 is a bit lower than Game 1’s 224, but keep in mind that these two teams combined to average over 230 points per game in their last ten head-to-head meetings. There is also the playoff Under to consider. Teams tend to tighten up their defenses and play at slower tempos in the postseason. It’s also worth noting that the Over is 9-4 in the last 13 meetings and the two teams have combined to average over 224 points a game in the last three Suns-Pelicans games.