There’s just too much talent on the Pelicans team for them to be below .500. They are 2nd in the league in scoring (117 PPG), 2nd in FG percentage (48.2%) and 7th in rebounding (46.8 RPG). Anyone who has watched this team during the season can clearly see they just have trouble finishing games. They lose games they are supposed to win and surprise the better teams. They also have trouble on defense where they are giving up almost 115 PPG. Currently, the team is sitting on its third three-game winning streak of the season, the team’s longest this season. In C Anthony Davis, the Pelicans have arguably the most valuable asset in the NBA. He is currently averaging 28.6 PPG to go along with 13.2 RPG. He’s also getting good scoring support from Jrue Holiday (20.7 PPG) and Julius Randle (19.8 PPG).
The T-Wolves are almost a mirror image of the Pelicans. They too are underperforming based on a roster that has plenty of talent. They are also struggling to get back into contention after a very rough start to the season due in large part to internal issues related to the Jimmy Butler fiasco. They have played a little better of late, winning 6 of its last 9 games, including a very nice road win against a good OK City team 119-117. Like the Pelicans, the T-Wolves have a trio of good scorers, including team leader Karl Anthony-Towns (22.1 PPG), a revitalized Derrick Rose (18.9) and Andrew Wiggins (17.9 PPG) PG Jeff Teague is among the league leaders in assist with 8.4 APG. Where this team is having trouble stacking up is in conference play where they are only 10-15 against Western Conference foes.
Prediction: On New Year’s Eve, NO beat the T-Wolves at home 123-114. In the game, the Pelicans were lights out from 3-point range, hitting 14-25 (56%). The Pelicans really struggle on the road where they are 5-16 on the season. The point spread is small, requiring the T-Wolves to merely win the game outright for the cover. Play Minnesota -2 (score – Minnesota 124-117)