The Pelicans are in very uncomfortable spot of still having Anthony Davis on the roster even though he made it clear he wanted to be dealt to the Lakers ahead of last month’s trade deadline.
The Toronto Raptors look to snap a two-game losing streak as they open a three-game road trip on Friday and get their last look at Anthony Davis in a New Orleans Pelicans uniform.
NBA Point Spread and Betting Analysis
Well, we think that Davis will be in uniform for the Pelicans on Friday. The team is in the very uncomfortable spot of still having Davis on the roster even though he made it clear he wanted to be dealt to the Lakers ahead of last month’s trade deadline. That didn’t work, and the NBA has threatened to fine the Pelicans $100,000 (US) per game when the team sits a healthy Davis.
Thus, Davis plays (other than in the second of a back-to-back, which isn’t the case Friday) but not in the fourth quarter. Odd a team would hold out its best player when it matters most, but the Pels want to limit Davis’ minutes to ensure his health to trade him this summer. He plays about seven minutes each of the first three quarters and then takes a seat. New Orleans also doesn’t mind losing as much as possible to improve its potential 2019 draft pick, although the team has played pretty well since the All-Star break. Maybe Davis will be in a Raptors uniform next season? Toronto would have to give up rising star Pascal Siakam in any deal, though, and risk Davis walking in free agency after the 2019-20 season.
New Orleans goes for the season sweep as it won 126-110 in Toronto on Nov. 12 in a surprise. Davis had 25 points and 20 rebounds, Jrue Holiday 29 points and 14 assists, and E’Twaun Moore 30 points. The Raptors, who entered on a six-game winning streak overall and a six-game streak vs. the Pelicans, were outscored in every quarter. Siakam scored 22 points to lead Toronto and Kawhi Leonard had 20. Kyle Lowry was just 1-for-9 for four points – Holiday is one of the best defensive point guards in the NBA. Toronto has covered 14 of its past 16 trips to New Orleans.
Early this week, the Raptors blew a chance to gain ground on East-leading Milwaukee, which was shocked in Phoenix on Monday night for a second straight loss – the first time this season the Bucks lost back-to-back games. Toronto decided to rest Leonard Sunday in Detroit and lost in overtime, then was beaten 107-95 at home by surging Houston on Tuesday. The Rockets outscored the Raptors 38-24 in the fourth quarter. Leonard had 26 points, but Lowry was not good in shooting 4-for-16 for eight points. Serge Ibaka returned to the starting lineup in place of Marc Gasol and had 10 points and 15 rebounds. Gasol wasn’t much of a factor in 18 minutes and was minus-30. No one on the bench was a factor, while Houston got 37 points from its reserves. The Raptors are just 1-8 against the spread (ATS) in their past nine.
New Orleans Pelicans
New Orleans had a three-game winning streak (all on the road) snapped in a 114-104 home loss to Utah on Monday – the same team the Pelicans beat by three in Salt Lake City on Monday. Clubs rarely sweep those home-and-home sets in the NBA. Davis played his usual 21 minutes or so and had 16 points and five rebounds. Julius Randle, who has been a terrific offseason addition, had 23 points. New Orleans turned it over 17 times, leading to 28 Jazz points. Giving the ball away has been a problem all season as the Pels rank 22nd in turning it over 14.2 times per game. New Orleans has covered five straight games following a double-digit home loss.