The Boston Celtics will host the visiting New Orleans Pelicans at TD Garden on Monday. The game promises to be one of the most star-studded NBA matchups of the night, with the two teams featuring past and present All-Stars.
As they head into the first contest of a seven-game homestand, the Boston Celtics are on a two-game winning streak that they are looking to extend when they face the New Orleans Pelicans. A seventh-place standing in the Eastern Conference with a 23-23 record isn’t the ideal place to be for the home squad but they’ll take it for now and hope to improve on it in the next two weeks.
For the New Orleans Pelicans, they are looking forward to regaining some ground in the standings after a discouraging stretch in which they won just six of their 18 games. They have since won three of their last four with All-Star forward Zion Williamson carrying the brunt of the offensive load. Two of their next three games will be at home, with the Boston Celtics in their way as New Orleans bids to move up in the West.
New Orleans Pelicans vs Boston Celtics - Prediction
Both the Boston Celtics and New Orleans Pelicans are looking to leave behind weeks of ineptitude as they face off tonight. With the two teams sporting young, individual talents, veterans such as the Celtics’ Kemba Walker and the Pelicans’ Eric Bledsoe will have to make key contributions for their respective teams to win.
But only one team will emerge victorious, and in a game of matchups, it’s hard to ignore how Williamson presents all sorts of problems for the Boston Celtics. The New Orleans Pelicans’ super sophomore is as close to an unstoppable force as any in the league right now.
Expect the New Orleans Pelicans to win on the road, but it will be a close one. The Boston Celtics will not want to disappoint the first fans at TD Garden since the pandemic closed down the NBA last year.
New Orleans Pelicans vs Boston Celtics - Combined 5
Point Guard - Kemba Walker l Shooting Guard - Jaylen Brown l Small Forward - Brandon Ingram l Power Forward - Jayson Tatum l Center - Zion Williamson
In our hypothetical combined 5 featuring the stars from the Boston Celtics and New Orleans Pelicans, we reposition a couple of players to squeeze as much talent as we can from the rosters.
First, Kemba Walker is joined in the backcourt by his running mate with the Boston Celtics, Jaylen Brown. Walker is a four-time All-Star who has struggled with his shot this season but is still averaging a cool 18.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. After coming off stem cell treatment during the offseason, he is still slowly getting his rhythm back despite being back for two months already.
Nevertheless, the Boston Celtics guard is still a better point guard than the other players on either team. The New Orleans Pelicans' Lonzo Ball would have been the more logical choice but his status is questionable for the game.
Brown is normally the Boston Celtics' small forward, but he slid into the shooting guard position when Marcus Smart was on the injured list. An All-Star for the first time this season, the 6-foot-6 California product is averaging career-highs in points (24.6 points) and assists (3.7) while shooting a career-best 48.4 percent from the field.
Though he didn’t make the All-Star this campaign, Brandon Ingram remains one of the top young players in the game. The New Orleans Pelicans forward is still putting up similar numbers to what he had last year when he made it to the All-Star Game. His scoring average is exactly the same at 23.8 points, while his assists are at an all-time high with 4.6 a game.
At the other forward spot, we have Jayson Tatum from the Boston Celtics. The 6-foot-8 player from Duke is turning in his best season ever. In just his fourth year in the league, Tatum is putting up 25.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game. His length and otherworldly skills make him one of the game’s most versatile players and one who could contend for the MVP Award in the future.
Our man in the middle is Zion Williamson, who slides into the center position in our combined 5. Considered to be the best prospect since LeBron James in 2003, the 6-foot-7, 284-pound forward is making great strides in his development as a player. After the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Dallas Mavericks 112-103 on Saturday, opposing coach Rick Carlisle called him “a Shaquille O’Neal-type force with a point guard skill set.”
This season, Williamson is having a sensational campaign for the New Orleans Pelicans with nightly contributions of 26.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists, all of which are all better numbers than his rookie year stats.