The NBA Playoffs begin on Saturday afternoon and I will have a free pick in the game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Golden State Warriors, which will take place at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. The game has a start time of 3:30 pm (Eastern) and will be televised on ABC. Current Vegas betting odds have Golden State listed as 11.5 point favorites, while the total is set at 204.
Analysis: The Pelicans made it to the Playoffs on the last day of the season when they beat the San Antonio Spurs at home. Their reward is to face the best team in the league in Golden State. New Orleans went 45-37 overall this year, including 17-24 on the road. New Orleans has gone 5-1 ATS in their last 6 vs the Pacific Division, but 3-9 ATS in their last 12 Conference Quarterfinals games and 0-5 ATS in their last 5 road games. The Pelicans have been an average offensive team this year, ranking 16th in scoring (99.4 ppg), 10th in shooting, 4th in 3 point shooting and 17th in FT shooting. Defensively the Pelicans have been decent this year, ranking 11th in points allowed (98.6 ppg), 23rd in defensive FG% and 2nd in 3 point defense.
The Warriors have really been the best team in the NBA all year and they come in with a record of 67-15 overall, which includes marks of 39-2 at home. The Warriors had nothing to play for down the stretch, yet they won their last 4 games in a row and this team did not lose more than 2 games in a row all year. Golden State has gone 15-2 ATS in their last 17 Conference Quarterfinals games and 24-8-1 ATS in their last 33 games after allowing more than 125 points in their previous game, but just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game. The Warriors have been a very good offensive team this year, ranking 1st in scoring (110.0 ppg), 1st in shooting, 1st in 3 point shooting and 9th in FT shooting. Defensively the Warriors have been average, ranking 15th in points allowed (99.9 ppg), 1st in defensive FG% and 5th in 3 point defense.
Pick: Tough spot here for the Pelicans, who played their asses off just to get in the playoffs. I feel they will not have what it takes to hang around for more than 3 quarters in this one. The Warriors had their seed wrapped up a while ago, yet this team continued to pound their opponents down the stretch. Golden State has crushed teams all year on this floor and I see no reason why they can't do that here vs a New Orleans team that is just happy to be here right now. This one will get ugly.
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