The New Orleans Pelicans are set to face off against the Phoenix Suns in an enticing Westen Conference clash. Both teams have had a stellar start to the 2020-21 NBA Season and have won two of their first three games.
The West is stacked and teams looking for a playoff berth cannot afford to take any games off. Both these sides missed the playoffs last year and are looking to remedy that this season, which makes this fixture an exciting matchup.
Fixture: New Orleans Pelicans vs Phoenix Suns - NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Tuesday, December 29th, 2020 - 10:00 PM ET ( Monday, December 30th, 2020 - 8:30 AM IST)
Venue: Phoenix Suns Arena, Pheonix, AZ
The Phoenix Suns are starting to look dangerous, even by the high standards of the West. Not only has the franchise's dynamic duo of Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton lived up to expectations, but the supporting pieces have also performed well so far.
The New Orleans Pelicans have also looked promising this season. The new acquisitions have stepped up for the franchise, while their young star players have continued to develop.
New Orleans Pelicans Preview
After missing out last year, the New Orleans Pelicans look more like a playoff team now. The side have been impressive under the coaching of Stan Van Gundy. The Pelicans' defense has improved dramatically and looks capable of locking down some of the best offensive teams in the NBA.
On the other side of the floor, players such as Lonzo Ball and Zion Williamson have overcome last season's injury woes and have performed well so. The organization will hope they can continue this good run of form.
On the injury front, the New Orleans Pelicans have ruled out Wenyen Gabriel (knee) for the clash against the Phoenix Suns. Nicolo Melli (knee) has been listed as questionable.
Key Player - Brandon Ingram
Brandon Ingram has been in stellar form for the New Orleans Pelicans in the new season. In three games, the 23-year-old has averaged 26.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 6.7 assists, shooting 44.1% from the field and 47.4% from behind the arc. His quality on the defensive end has also improved, making him a key component on both ends of the floor for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Brandon Ingram, who won the Most Improved Player award last year, will be looking to continue his push for a second consecutive All-Star spot.
New Orleans Pelicans Predicted Lineup
G Lonzo Ball, G Eric Bledsoe, F Brandon Ingram, F Zion Williamson, C Steven Adams
Phoenix Suns Preview
The Phoenix Suns don't have any obvious weaknesses in their team. While their floor spacing can suffer sometimes due to inconsistent shooting in crucial moments, their overall lineup is balanced and has improved from last season.
A massive reason behind the team's improvement is the acquisition of Chris Paul. The 35-year-old has not only taken up a lot of the offensive load, but his playmaking has also added far more fluidity to the Phoenix Suns' offense. Given how solid the team's lineup is now, the Suns are capable of competing with any team in the league.
The only thing that may be worrying for the franchise is their current injury list. While Dario Saric (quadriceps) is reportedly probable for the upcoming clash, Jalen Smith (ankle) and Abdel Nader (concussion) have been ruled out. These players have been good rotation pieces for the Phoenix Suns, and their absence could hold the team back against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Key Player - Devin Booker
Devin Booker is undoubtedly the biggest threat on the offensive end for the Phoenix Suns. The 24-year-old is one of the best scorers in the league while also being an elite slasher. Booker also seems to be forming a potent partnership with Chris Paul.
While his defense may still need some work, his abilities on the offensive end undoubtedly make him the key player for the franchise against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Phoenix Suns Predicted Lineup
G Chris Paul, G Devin Booker, F Mikal Bridges, F Jae Crowder, C Deandre Ayton
New Orleans Pelicans vs Phoenix Suns Match Prediction
The winner of this matchup is hard to predict. Both teams are in a good run of form right now and are performing on a similar level on the defensive end of the floor.
However, while the New Orleans Pelicans have some quality on the offensive end, they just aren't on the level of the Phoenix Suns. As a result, the Suns will go into this game as the favorites.
Where to watch New Orleans Pelicans vs Phoenix Suns?
For those in the USA, this game will be broadcasted on the Fox Sports Network.
International fans can stream the game live on the NBA League Pass.
Published 29 Dec 2020, 22:40 IST