Even after the All-Star festivities have faded from the Big Easy, the hometown team is still the talk of the NBA a week later. The New Orleans Pelicans became arguably the NBA's most interesting team to watch after their trade for Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins. NBA pundits are excited to see how the new “Twin Towers” of Cousins and Anthony Davis make a run at the Western Conference playoffs.
New Orleans' opponent on Saturday night needs to make a run of their own as the Dallas Mavericks could slide anywhere from last place in the West to a possible 8th seed playoff berth depending on how the 2nd half of the season goes.
This is going to be a heavily bet contest just because of the recent hype surrounding the Hornets. There is some value in Dallas as they were a respectable 6-4 in their last 10 before the All-Star break and have a decent 14-14 record at home. There's also a reason why New Orleans was sitting in the #11 spot in the West at the All-Star break – mostly their poor 9-19 road record.
The numbers out of Vegas could be skewed on this one but it's easy to understand why the heavy lean is on the Pelicans. First off Cousins, Davis and the rest of their Pelicans teammates have had a game to shake off the rust and get used to a new playing style with their tilt against Houston on Thursday.
The Mavericks, on the other hand, are victims of the schedule Gods in this matchup. They are rewarded with a back-to-back on their first weekend returning from the long All-Star break with a game at Minnesota on Friday night before flying back home to take on the Pelicans on Saturday. It's not like the Mavs had any All-Stars so it's hard to tell how they'll react to two games in two nights after a long layoff.
The total on this side could be leaning towards the under as the two teams have gone below the total 5 times with a push in their last 6 combined games. Perhaps the best reason to wager on the under is the blowout potential that is present in this game. It's hard to see how the Mavericks can match up with the reloaded New Orleans squad on Saturday coming off a Friday night tilt in Minnesota. Factor in that the Pelicans have got a game under their belt to get comfortable with the Cousins – Davis combination and this game could be big and easy for New Orleans.