- The Phoenix Suns visit the New Orleans Pelicans Tuesday in NBA action
- Phoenix is chasing the best record in the West, NOLA is chasing a play-in berth
- The odds and matchups can be found below with a prediction
It’s a battle of two teams at different ends of the spectrum Tuesday night at the Smoothie King Center in the Big Easy.
The visiting Phoenix Suns own the NBA’s second-best record, and sit second in the West to the Warriors.
The host New Orleans Pelicans are second to last in the conference, with only the Houston Rockets owning a worse record. Yet, after a disastrous start and minus their best player all year, they’re just two games out of the play-in tournament.
It all gets underway at 8pm ET and can be seen live on NBA League Pass. The visiting team is a 7-point favorite.
Suns vs Pelicans Odds
|Phoenix Suns||-7 (-110)||-290||OFF|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+7 (-110)||+230||OFF|
Odds as of Jan 3 at DraftKings
Bet $10, Win $100 if Any Player Scores 10+ Points
Since ripping off 18 straight wins prior to Christmas, Phoenix has stayed consistently good, running a 10-4 mark over their last 14 games.
They’ve won two of their last three, including a 133-99 clubbing of the Charlotte Hornets last time out.
— NBA Panel (@NBAPANEL) January 3, 2022
Their dynamic backcourt led the way, with Devin Booker scoring 24 points, adding seven boards and three assists, while Chris Paul kept teammates well fed with a game-high 16 assists.
Phoenix got nice contributions from second-year man Jalen Smith, who tied a career-high with 19 points while adding 12 boards.
JALEN SMITH POSTER.
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) January 3, 2022
That was a welcome sight, as the Suns’ frontcourt has been decimated with COVID. Deandre Ayton, JaVale McGee, Jae Crowder and Abdel Nader are all currently on the shelf, and won’t be available Tuesday night.
Emergency signing Bismack Biyombo contributed in his first action with the team. The veteran had 11 points and six board in 18 minutes of work.
New Orleans Outlook
After a disastrous 3-16 start that could have sent them into tank season, the New Orleans Pelicans have managed to find their way into some semblance of play-in contention. They have gone 10-8 since, including Monday night’s 115-104 to the Utah Jazz.
This is a team that’s still waiting for the season debut of star Zion Williamson, who’s dealing with a foot injury.
— Bally Sports New Orleans (@BallySportsNO) January 4, 2022
They’ve been buoyed by the all-around play of forward Brandon Ingram, who’s averaging 22.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists.
Perhaps the biggest surprise has been the stellar play of offseason pickup Jonas Valanciunas, who’s averaging 18.5 points and 12 rebounds on a crisp 52.2% mark from the field.
Jonas Valanciunas for the slam! #NBAAllStar
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 4, 2022
After averaging only 102.2 points in November, the Pels have picked up the scoring pace, upping their average to 109.3 in December, which helped them to a 7-5 mark.
They’re still definitely a work in progress defensively, allowing teams to score 110.2 points per night, which ranks 25th in the NBA.
Suns vs Pelicans Pick
While just a middle-of-the-pack betting team, going 19-17 ATS overall and 9-7 ATS on the road, Phoenix is among the NBA leaders in almost any significant offensive or defensive metric.
They’re fifth overall in points allowed, holding teams to 32.8% shooting from deep (3rd) and 43.9% from the field (4th). They score at the 3rd-best rate in the league at 112.3 per night, shooting 47.5% from the field (2nd) and 36.5% from deep (6th). They’re also fourth in assists at 26.2 per game.
WELCOME TO THE FAMILY, BISMACK ☄️ pic.twitter.com/ZtrgCKEYoy
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) January 3, 2022
This is significant mismatch on paper, but injuries could narrow the gap. New Orleans is top four in both overall rebounding and offensive rebounding. Valanciunas can have his way with Biyombo, and whoever else they throw his way.
Still, Phoenix has beaten up on lesser opposition, sporting a 13-3 mark vs teams with losing records, and their last six wins have all been by double digits. They also own a 112-100 win over NOLA earlier this season. Expect much of the same here.
The Pick: Suns -7 (-110)