Two teams fighting for a play-in tournament berth face off on Friday night as the New Orleans Pelicans host the San Antonio Spurs. Inconsistency has cut the Pelicans three games adrift of the Golden State Warriors in tenth place, while the Spurs' road performances, winning 16 of 26 games, has put them in a confident position to qualify for the postseason.
Fixture - San Antonio Spurs vs New Orleans Pelicans | 2020-21 NBA Season.
Date & Time - Saturday, April 24th; 8:00 PM ET (Sunday, April 25th; 5:30 AM IST).
Venue - Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA
San Antonio Spurs preview
The San Antonio Spurs are rolling along nicely toward the playoffs and could even steal the 8th seed from the Memphis Grizzlies.
While their offense hasn't exactly been electric, Popovich's side often finds a way to grind out results. Particularly recently when the San Antonio Spurs have topped the Suns, Mavs and Pacers in their last ten games - all on the road.
DeMar DeRozan has been his usual consistent self all year while Derrick White and Dejounte Murray have formed a decent partnership in the San Antonio Spurs backcourt, averaging 33.3 points together in their last ten games. Jakob Poeltl is also proving his worth and has ranked fourth among centers in that same time period for blocks per game with 2.3 while shooting at 66.7% from the floor.
Key player - Derrick White
As the tweet below says, it was Derrick White's night on Thursday as he led the San Antonio Spurs past the Detroit Pistons. However, it has in fact been his month. In April, the 26-year-old is performing well above his season averages, putting up 18.5 points and 4.2 assists per night.
During that time, he also had a +/- rating of 7 which was greater than his San Antonio Spurs teammates and in the top-ten of all players who have played more than ten games this month. In their last ten games, White has scored more than 20 points on 4 occasions and shot at 85% from the free-throw line.
San Antonio Spurs predicted lineup
Point Guard - Dejounte Murray l Shooting Guard - Derrick White l Small Forward - Keldon Johnson l Power Forward - DeMar DeRozan l Center - Jakob Poeltl
New Orleans Pelicans preview
For a team with so much talent, the New Orleans Pelicans have been disappointing this campaign. Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram have performed at an All-Star level but haven't had enough to lift their side higher than 11th, a position the Pels have sustained or been worse than since the start of January.
While their offense is exciting to watch, a large part of the New Orleans Pelicans' problems have come on the defensive end, where they rank 27th for efficiency. Although they allow the least opposition rebounds, the Pelicans are conversely sat in the bottom-five for assists and 3-point efforts given up per game. It is going to take an almighty effort for them to even make it into a play-in tournament berth from here.
Key player - Zion Williamson
Although the New Orleans Pelicans are struggling, Zion Williamson has done his stock no harm this campaign and has been electric recently. In his last ten games, the 20-year-old put up 29.1 points and 7.6 rebounds. He also shot at close to 60% from the field during that time, and has done so all season, which is a staggering stat considering his mass shot attempts per night.
Although his future may not ideally be with the New Orleans Pelicans, Zion Williamson certainly is the talent that can propel the franchise forward. They just need to build a more solid side around him that can compete next year.
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 - Steven Adams
Spurs vs Pelicans Match prediction
The New Orleans Pelicans have been a fun team to watch this season and rank inside the top ten offenses. However, they have been somewhat erratic on defense and the San Antonio Spurs have been impressively efficient on the road this year. Both teams have a lot to play for in the run-in, therefore we can expect an exciting matchup.
Although it will be tight, we are backing the New Orleans Pelicans to come away victorious in this one.
Where to watch the Spurs vs Pelicans ,atchup
The game will be broadcast in America locally on Bally Sports New Orleans and on Bally Sports Southwest for San Antonio Spurs fans. You can also stream the matchup live with an NBA League Pass.