Both the Nuggets and Pelicans come into their games on the back of dominant wins. Michael Porter Jr. lit up the Memphis Grizzlies with 31 points for the Nuggets, while all five Pelicans starters scored double-digit points to overcome the LA Clippers on Monday.
Fixture - New Orleans Pelicans vs Denver Nuggets | 2020-21 NBA Season.
Date & Time - Wednesday, April 28th; 9:00 PM ET (Thursday, April 29th; 6:30 AM IST).
Venue - Ball Arena, Denver, CO
New Orleans Pelicans Preview
The New Orleans Pelicans are just one place below the play-in tournament spots. However, it seems unlikely that they will be able to salvage a top-10 spot in the Western Conference standings.
Despite having two All-Star caliber forwards in Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, the Pelicans have been inconsistent all year. They have allowed the fifth-most points to opposing teams this season, a trait not consistent with coach Stan Van Gundy's teams.
Though their fixture run-in is favorable, the New Orleans Pelicans are three games behind the Golden State Warriors, who currently occupy the final play-in tournament spot. Furthermore, Steph Curry has been in tremendous form recently and looks like he can carry the Warriors into the postseason on his own.
Pelicans fans will instead be looking toward next season. Both Ingram and Williamson are tied to long-term contracts and therefore are going nowhere.
However, the New Orleans Pelicans front office will need to create a stronger unit around them, particularly on defense. They will also have to find a new point guard as Lonzo Ball looks set to leave the team at the end of the season.
Key Player - Zion Williamson
Although the New Orleans Pelicans have been disappointing this campaign, Zion Williamson has been utterly dominant in his sophomore year. The 20-year-old recently became the first NBA player since Michael Jordan to score 2,000 career points before his 80th game and has an offensive rating of 126.
Williamson has a huge career ahead of him. He is an extremely efficient player, making over 60% of his field goals and grabbing over seven rebounds per game. That has helped contribute to the New Orleans Pelicans allowing the fewest rebounds per game this season for any team.
New Orleans Pelicans Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Lonzo Ball l Shooting Guard - Eric Bledsoe l Small Forward - Brandon Ingram l Power Forward - Zion Williamson l Center - Willy Hernangomez
Denver Nuggets Preview
Despite seeing their playoff hopes knocked by Jamal Murray's injury, the Denver Nuggets have remained on course and will still be one of the most dangerous teams in the postseason.
They have won seven of their last ten games, including wins against the Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers. In that time, they have also struggled against the scoring might of Steph Curry twice, which could be a precursor to their defensive struggles in the backcourt.
Over the same period, the Denver Nuggets have ranked bottom in the NBA for allowing the most opposition fast-break points. The Denver Nuggets guard's depth took another blow at the end of last week, with Will Barton suffering a hamstring strain. He remains without a timetable for return.
Key Player - Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic's season stats seem to get more and more impressive as the year goes on.
The Denver Nuggets center has done more for his team than any other player in the league, leading in win shares with a staggering 13.3. He also has the highest box +/- and ranks second only to Russell Westbrook for triple-doubles.
Jokic will be the Denver Nuggets' leader going into the playoffs with Jamal Murray injured. The Serbian is more than capable of taking on the additional offensive load and could well put up greater numbers than his season averages, as he did last year in the bubble in the first two rounds against the Jazz and the Clippers.
Jokic and the Denver Nuggets will be out for revenge this time around should they face the Lakers in the first round. Jokic was held to just 18 points a game against the would-be champions, though he had just come off two seven-game series.
Denver Nuggets Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Facundo Campazzo l Shooting Guard - P.J. Dozier l Small Forward - Michael Porter Jr. l Power Forward - Aaron Gordon l Center - Nikola Jokic
Pelicans vs Nuggets Match Prediction
In two games this season, the New Orleans Pelicans and Denver Nuggets traded a win each. On both occasions, the home team lost, however, this time around we are picking the Nuggets to win.
Since the All-Star break, the Denver Nuggets have gone 18-6 and boast the third-best offense in the league, which they have maintained even without Jamal Murray. Nikola Jokic was dominant in their previous encounters, averaging 33 points, and could be the deciding factor once again should the New Orleans Pelicans be without Steven Adams.
Where to watch the Pelicans vs Nuggets matchup
Fans in America can watch the game locally on Bally Sports New Orleans and Altitude TV. You can also stream the game with an NBA League Pass.