- Zion Williamson is set to make his road debut in Cleveland
- Pelicans cannot afford loss as they chase eighth seed in Western Conference
- Get the odds, our pick, and all the info you need to bet the game below
The New Orleans Pelicans and first overall pick Zion Williamson head to Ohio to face the Cleveland Cavaliers on a one-game roadtrip. The Pels’ recent homestand saw Williamson’s eagerly anticipated NBA debut, though their 1-2 record over those three games has left them on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture.
Facing one of the worst teams in the league in the Cavs, New Orleans are heavily favored in the New Orleans vs Cleveland Cavaliers odds for their Tuesday night matchup.
New Orleans Pelicans vs Cleveland Cavaliers Odds
|New Orleans Pelicans||-8 (-110)||-325||Ov 231.5 (-112)|
|Cleveland Cavaliers||+8 (-110)||+270||Un 231.5 (-108)|
Odds taken Jan. 28th.
All Eyes on Zion
The long wait for Williamson’s debut didn’t lessen the excitement. After an indifferent start to the game, the ex-Duke forward went on a 17-point run and hit four three-pointers in a row. He’s missed his two perimeter shots since then, but has had positive on/off numbers against the Nuggets and Celtics.
Under a minutes restriction as he works back from injury, this season isn’t when we will get a real idea of what Williamson can do in the NBA. There’s a rustiness to his game, as exhibited by the five early turnovers in his debut. None of that should put people off watching the Pelicans and the most exciting rookie talent since LeBron James.
Zion Williamson catches and throws down the alley-oop from Jrue Holiday!
— NBA (@NBA) January 25, 2020
His historic preseason numbers were an appetizer. The per 36 numbers are every bit as gaudy; 31.2 points on 66.7% shooting, 12.9 boards, including 5.4 on the offensive end.
Cleveland has no answer to Zion’s athleticism. He could be in for a big night.
Getting Ingram Involved
Brandon Ingram has a 28.5% usage rate on the season, just behind Anthony Davis. Since Williamson’s debut, Ingram’s usage rate has dropped to the 26% mark. While that’s hardly notable, Williamson’s usage at over 31% is. Ingram has excelled this year, putting himself as a frontrunner for Most Improved Player as the Pels’ primary option.
New Orleans, if they are to mount a playoff push, need to find a way to bring the best out of Williamson and Ingram. The former Laker has gone 14-for-46 from the field over the three games. Williamson and Ingram have shared the floor for just 43 minutes thus far. There’s not a huge amount that can be read into that, but as they pursue a post-season berth, the clock is ticking to bring the best out of their two young stars.
Cleveland, on the second night of a back-to-back, are an ideal opponent for Ingram and Williamson to develop chemistry. The Cavs won on Monday night, but they are 2-5 on the second night of back-to-backs on the season and own the second-worst defensive rating in the NBA. Only the historically bad Atlanta Hawks have been as poor at that end of the court.
Pels Are Too Talented
A severe talent disadvantage and fatigue make a heavy loss for the Cavaliers likely. Cleveland will have built some confidence with their win over Detroit on Monday, which ended a seven-game slide, but this team isn’t a match for a New Orleans club with all its key players available.
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 27, 2020
The Pelicans are deep. Jrue Holiday put up 25 against the Celts and Lonzo Ball is in the best form of his NBA career right now, having notched 15 dimes in the same game. Add the ever-underrated Derrick Favors to the mix with Williamson and Ingram, and New Orleans should cruise this one.
Pick: New Orleans Pelicans -8 (-110)
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