This was supposed to be a NBA season of change for the rebranded New Orleans Pelicans, with enough talent in the roster to condemn the Hornets era to history. But with four straight defeats – and a mounting injury list – their challenge in the ultra-competitive Western Conference is fading fast.
The Pelicans get the second leg of a home-and-away series with Dallas Mavericks on Saturday, 24 hours after the Mavs claimed a 107-90 victory on the road behind 24 points from Dirk Nowitzki.
Dallas were able to get 14 three-pointers, many off turnovers, and notched 62 points in the first half alone as their guests folded.
Anthony Davis had 21 points and 13 rebounds and looks every inch an All Star. But back in New Orleans for round two, the Pelicans will again be without Jrue Holliday, whose back-up Brian Roberts is a poor substitute, as well as Ryan Anderson.
In their losing streak so far, the Pelis have averaged just 89.5 points and never got closer than six. But there is some hope. On the second night of back-to-backs this season, ageing Dallas are just 4-5 and have a negative margin of -3.1 points.
The Mavs still might get the win. But it’s worth a punt on New Orleans on the handicap of +6.5 or looking under the total points line of 200.5, available at 1.88.
The Phoenix Suns didn’t quite have enough firepower to get past Memphis on Friday, dropping the game 104-99, and they now have to regroup to take on a Detroit Pistons side which broke a six-game skid on Friday with a 114-101 defeat of Philadelphia.
Josh Smith had 22 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists but against the 76ers, it’s easy pickings. In five straight losses at home, the Pistons have given up an average of 111.8 and the Suns – who are 1.96 for the win - still have enough firepower to turn up the heat.
Best bet: Take New Orleans on the handicap of +6.5 over Dallas at 1.92