The last time these teams met was on December 18, 2019, when the Nets beat the Pelicans 108-101. Their scheduled head-to-head meetings were among the casualties of the NBA shut down last season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The New Orleans Pelicans received a 123-107 beatdown from the soaring Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday and will want to pour out their frustrations on the Brooklyn Nets. It will be a tough task, however, as coach Steve Nash’s squad is playing like a well-oiled machine even in the face of adversity.
Kevin Durant’s scheduled return to the Brooklyn Nets is the highlight of this game and is one of the most anticipated comebacks in the league this season.
Stamina will be a big challenge for the 11-time All-Star, but he will be patient in getting his rhythm back.
Fixture - New Orleans Pelicans vs Brooklyn Nets | 2020-21 NBA Season
Date & Time - Wednesday, April 7th, 7:30 PM ET (Thursday, April 8th, 5:00 AM IST)
Venue - Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
New Orleans Pelicans Preview
Lonzo Ball had a near triple-double against the Atlanta Hawks, but his 4-of-14 shooting from three and 4-of-15 overall from the field was one big reason why the New Orleans Pelicans lost. However, he’s not the only culprit here.
The New Orleans Pelicans, as a unit, shot just 40.7 percent from the field and 31.6 percent from beyond the arc. That’s not going to win them many games, especially since they rely so much on their offense to win, with their defense still a work in progress.
It will take more than just the return of Brandon Ingram (day-to-day) from a sore toe injury to get the New Orleans Pelicans back on track. Against an elite high-scoring team like the Brooklyn Nets, their defense needs a quick overhaul to keep them from being blown out for the second night in a row.
Key Player - Zion Williamson
Zion Williamson had a rude awakening in his return from a sprained thumb as the Atlanta Hawks took the New Orleans Pelicans down handily.
Fortunately, Williamson didn’t show any ill effects from the injury as he recorded 34 points and five rebounds.
By making 66.7 percent (12-of-18) of his shots from the field, he tied Shaquille O’Neal in consecutive games, scoring 20 or more points while shooting 50 percent or better from the field.
Williamson can break O’Neal’s record in the New Orleans Pelicans’ matchup with the Brooklyn Nets.
New Orleans Pelicans Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Lonzo Ball l Shooting Guard - Eric Bledsoe l Small Forward - James Johnson l Power Forward - Zion Williamson l Center - Steven Adams
Brooklyn Nets Preview
The Brooklyn Nets are excited to have Kevin Durant back into the fold, and it will be interesting to see what shape he’s in after a long layoff.
During Durant’s absence, Kyrie Irving and James Harden made sure that the Brooklyn Nets remained competitive. Harden, though, will be out for 10 days due to a hamstring strain.
The excellent work that coach Steve Nash has done with this team, despite the revolving door of players in and out of the lineup, cannot be understated. The Brooklyn Nets are currently no. 2 in the East and can take the top spot only if they keep winning and the Philadelphia 76ers start losing. The two teams are tied at 35-16, but the Sixers own the tiebreaker.
That backdrop gives the Brooklyn Nets’ Wednesday battle with the New Orleans Pelicans added significance.
Key Player - Kevin Durant
All eyes will be on Durant when he takes to the court after recovering from the hamstring strain that sidelined him for 23 straight games.
Prior to his injury, the Brooklyn Nets forward dropped 29.0 points per game on opponents while shooting 52.4 percent from the field. He also grabbed 7.3 rebounds, dishing 5.3 assists and swatting away 1.4 enemy missiles a night this season. It’s highly probable that Durant will be on a minutes restriction on Wednesday.
They may not be matched up head-to-head but don’t be surprised to see the former MVP go up against the New Orleans Pelicans’ Zion Williamson every now and then.
Brooklyn Nets Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Kyrie Irving l Shooting Guard - Joe Harris l Small Forward - Kevin Durant l Power Forward - Jeff Green l Center - LaMarcus Aldridge
Pelicans vs Nets Match Prediction
From a marquee matchup perspective, this will be the first time that Kevin Durant and Zion Williamson will play against one another.
The Brooklyn Nets star was out for the entire 2019-20 season to heal from an ACL injury, while the New Orleans Pelicans forward was sidelined by a knee injury that delayed his debut by a few months.
Given the uncertainty of Ingram’s status for Wednesday's encounter, the New Orleans Pelicans may not have enough weapons to go toe-to-toe with the Brooklyn Nets, who will likely win this game.
Where to watch Pelicans vs Nets
The game between the New Orleans Pelicans and Brooklyn Nets will be televised nationally by ESPN and locally by Bally Sports New Orleans and Yes Network. International audiences can watch the game live on NBA League Pass.