The New Orleans Pelicans lost the two-game mini-series against the Portland Trail Blazers before this matchup and have now fallen to a 17-24 season record. The Denver Nuggets, meanwhile, will be aiming to win their fourth straight game on the bounce and improve their season record to 26-16.
Fixture: New Orleans Pelicans vs Denver Nuggets - NBA Season 2020-21.
Date & Time: Sunday, March 21st, 2021; 3:00 PM ET (Monday, March 22nd,12:30 AM IST).
Venue: Ball Arena, Denver, CO
New Orleans Pelicans Preview
The New Orleans Pelicans have continued their inconsistent run post the All-Star break as well. On some nights, they look like one of the best teams in the league but are just as disappointing when they can't get going. After mauling the LA Clippers in a 135-115 win, the Pelicans suffered back-to-back defeats at the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers.
In the first of two games against Damian Lillard and the Blazers, the New Orleans Pelicans blew a 17-point lead away with six minutes to go and lost 125-124 in the process. In the second game, the Pelicans lost 93-101 as they failed to break through the Portland defense.
The two losses have now left the New Orleans Pelicans 11th in the Western Conference standings. If they are to have any shot at making it to the post-season, they will have to win a flurry of games in the next few weeks.
Key Player - Zion Williamson
Zion Williamson has been the best player for the New Orleans Pelicans this season by some distance. His valuable contributions have been key to almost each of their 17 wins so far, and he will once again be expected to deliver for them, when they take on the in-form Denver Nuggets. Zion Williamson has now scored 20 points or more in 19 consecutive games leading up to this matchup.
He is averaging 25.6 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists this season, while shooting at 61.8% from the field. The New Orleans Pelicans could be tough customers to deal with for the Nuggets if Zion gets going.
G - Eric Bledsoe, G - Lonzo Ball, F - Zion Williamson, F - Brandon Ingram, C - Steven Adams
Denver Nuggets Preview
The Denver Nuggets have been one of the best sides in the league in recent weeks. Michael Malone's men have now recorded eight wins in their last ten outings, further strengthening their hold on the 5th spot in the West standings. After dealing with several injuries, they now have a relatively healthy squad and look unstoppable at the moment.
In their last game, the Denver Nuggets once again displayed their determination to win as they rallied back to beat the Chicago Bulls 131-127 in overtime. Jamal Murray was the star of the match as he ended the night with 34 points, while also scoring a game-tying three-pointer in the fourth quarter and a jumper in overtime to seal the win for his side.
Key Player - Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic has been a consistent performer for the Denver Nuggets this season and is having an MVP-caliber campaign so far. He is now ranked first on the KIA MVP ladder due to his all-around performances in the last few weeks. "The Joker" is leading the Nuggets in average points (27.0), rebounds (11.2), assists (8.6), and steals (1.6) this season.
Along with helping the team offensively in the matchup against the Pelicans, Jokic will have to be at his defensive best as well. His main challenge will be to guard the rim against the likes of Zion Williamson. The Denver Nuggets' chances of winning this tie will only increase if Jokic does manage to keep Zion quiet for most of the game.
G - Jamal Murray, G - Will Barton, F - Paul Millsap, F - Michael Porter Jr., C - Nikola Jokic
Pelicans vs Nuggets Match Prediction
The Denver Nuggets will be the favorites to win this matchup. The New Orleans Pelicans have been way too inconsistent and even if they do dominate early on, the Nuggets could still turn things around late in the game, something which they have done regularly of late.
However, the New Orleans Pelicans are an unpredictable side, and the Nuggets will have to be on their toes when the two sides go head-to-head this Sunday.
Where to watch the Pelicans vs Nuggets?
The game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Denver Nuggets will be televised locally on Altitude and Fox Sports New Orleans. It can also be streamed live with an NBA League Pass.