Tuesday night on TNT we get a treat with a matchup between Luka Doncic and his buddies as they head to New Orleans to take on the Pelicans, who unfortunately will be without Zion Williamson in this one.
It’s insane just how good the future of the NBA looks, especially in the early days of the 2022-23 season. With Ja Morant and Doncic leading the charge, there’s just so much incredible young talent in the league.
Doncic over his first two games is averaging 33.5 points per game - he’s one of TEN players in the first week-plus of the season to post a 30+ points per game. Zion, meanwhile, exploded out the gate to help the Pelicans take down our Nets with a 25 point performance. Tonight, though, he gets a DNP due to a hip/lower back injury.
Let’s dive into the matchup a little:
Dallas Mavericks (1-1) at New Orleans Pelicans (2-1)
DAL Spread: -6 (-110) ML -240
NO Spread: +6 (-110) ML +200
What we know:
- Dallas (1-1) is first in the league in ORTG at 124.3 and 3rd in DRTG (103.6)
- Those numbers, of course, are a bit skewed: with only two games in the books, having blown out the Memphis Grizzlies 137-96 obviously plays a bit into the “small sample size” camp. However, the Grizzlies are a tough, tough team to hold under 100 points.
- That said, I think I feel a bit more comfortable with calling the Mavericks and elite offensive team than I do labeling them a Top 3 defensive team. I think they’re a good defensive team, but not yet ready to brandish them as a top tier team quite yet.
- Enter the New Orleans Pelicans who boast the league’s 3rd best ORTG this season at 118.3; they too should remain as a top tier offensive team this season if they can remain healthy.
- Defensively, the Pels have plenty of size down low to try and lock down Christian Wood (who is off to a great start to the season). They’re big and long. Very big and very long. Still, the Mavs can score on you in many, many different ways.
- That said:
The Pelicans have downgraded Zion Williamson (Right Posterior Hip / Low Back Contusion) and Herb Jones (Right Knee Hyperextension) to OUT for tonight’s home game against Dallas.— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) October 25, 2022
- The Pelican’s defense takes a major hit without Zion and Herb Jones in the lineup.
What I like:
- Hard not to like the OVER in this one; you have two of the top offensive teams in the NBA going up against each other. At 218, that seems a bit low given how much offensive talent is on both sides.
- I get that Zion and Herb Jones are both out for the Pelicans, but that feels to me like you looks a bit of your defensive luster without those two down low. This feels like it has the makings for a high-scoring “track meet” type of game.
- Now, for the W, I’m starting to lean more toward the Mavericks at -6 with the news of Zion and Herb both sitting. The defense for the Pels becomes less imposing and if we’re getting into a high scoring affair I tend to favor the Mavericks and their offense, the offense that put up 137 points (+41) on the Grizzlies.
Last week I went 1-1, for what it’s worth.