The New Orleans Pelicans (22-28) will head to the Barclays Center to take on the Brooklyn Nets (35-16) in hopes of gaining some ground as the NBA moves toward the playoffs. These teams haven’t met since December of 2019 when the Nets downed the Pelicans by a score of 108-101. But as we know, history means very little in an upcoming game especially when their last match-up was over a year ago. The Pelicans are coming off a 123-107 drubbing at the hands of the Hawks on Tuesday, and while they’d love to bounce back against the Nets, it’ll be a big ask against a Nets team that’s gone 7-3 in their last 10.
Pick ATS: Nets -9
It might be tempting to pick the Pelicans here given how big the spread is, but don’t underestimate how well Steve Nash’s team is playing. Kevin Durant is also expected to make his return tonight after missing 23 games with a hamstring strain. We can expect him to see a limited number of minutes as he makes his way back to full health, but his return comes just in time as James Harden has been diagnosed with a hamstring strain and will be out for at least 10 days. This puts more of the workload on Kyrie Irving, who should be more than up for the task. On the Pelicans side, they may just see the return of Brandon Ingram (toe) tonight, but that injury has kept him out for the last four games and he’s still listed as questionable ahead of their meeting with the Nets. Brooklyn should prove to be too much for Zion Williamson and the Pelicans, and will be expected to win this game handily.
Player Prop: Kyrie Irving O27.5 points (-106)
With Harden out and Durant most likely limited in his playing time, Kyrie Irving should be bearing the brunt of the offensive work tonight. He’s averaged 28.0 points per game on the season, and added an impressive 40-point performance against the Knicks on Monday night. Expect him to play somewhere near 40 minutes tonight, and he should have no problem dropping at least 30 points on the 11th-place Pelicans.
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