The Boston Celtics and New Orleans Pelicans matchup tonight at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana tonight at 8:30pm EST.
The Celtics enter this game as arguably the hottest team in the NBA, winning their last eight games. The biggest thing going for them, especially down this stretch is the ability to close out games. Although their average point differential during the win streak is at 12 points, the games that were closer or found the Celtics losing for a decent stretch in the game, they were still able to close out and pull away in the fourth quarter.
The Pelicans have played better as of late, winning four out of their last five and refining their defense was a big part of their recent success. Throughout the first 10 games of the season, the Pelicans were allowing 114 points per game, and in their last five they have gotten that down to 107 points per game. Even without Zion Williamson, the Pelicans have really gotten their scoring going tremendously, averaging 216 points per game.
How The Celtics Can Win:
Looking for their ninth win in a row, all the Celtics have to do is just focus on the fundamentals and limit mistakes. This team is a contender and with a 12-3 current record, we already know they are pretty much doing everything right. That being said, any win streak is hard to keep going. With it already at eight, they have a tough road game against the Pelicans with a 5-2 record at home as opposed to on the road. They cannot let the win streak cloud their decision-making and influence bad shot selections as well as turnovers.
How The Pelicans Can Win:
The Pelicans need to continue this offensive scoring streak. Zion Williamson is questionable currently, but if he is able to go, watch out for this team tonight. As I mentioned before, the Pelicans need to continue stepping up on defense, especially from the perimeter. The Celtics rank atop the league in three-point field goals made, along with being slotted within the top four in three-point percentage. These are two of the highest scoring teams in the league, so whoever wins the defensive battle will decide the game.
Prediction: New Orleans Pelicans 122, Boston Celtics 113
I think New Orleans ends Boston’s win streak as the Pelicans extend theirs. This game feels like a Celtics let down spot against a really tough Pelicans team.