- It’s a small sample size, but the Pelicans are averaging 140.0 points per game this season. Will the Clippers be able to keep them in check?
Here are our three top plays for Tuesday night’s NBA action:
1. Los Angeles Clippers at New Orleans Pelicans (-6.5)
8:00 pm ET
The Clippers are coming off a big win over the Houston Rockets, but Los Angeles heads right into a tough road game against the Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center. New Orleans has been absolutely ridiculous offensively this season, averaging 140.0 points per game through two games. The Pelicans beat the Rockets by 19 on opening night and then beat the Sacramento Kings by 20 two nights later. Anthony Davis is off to an MVP-caliber start averaging 28.5 points, 13.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 2.5 steals and 2.5 blocks per game. The big man is a matchup nightmare on both ends of the floor, and he has seemingly found a way to improve on what was already an elite offensive skillset. Davis’s efficiency is what is jumping out in the young season, as he shooting 63.6% from the floor thus far. Los Angeles is solid, but the Clippers don’t have anybody with the size and athleticism to make things hard on Davis. New Orleans will also have the best guard on the floor in two-way stud Jrue Holiday. Heading into this game, the Pelicans had won and covered in four of their last five games against the Clippers. Look for them to make it five out of six, as they should roll on Wednesday.
Pick: Pelicans (-6.5)
2. Sacramento Kings at Denver Nuggets (Total: 228.5)
9:05 pm ET
The high total here is a little intimidating, but the Kings’ first three games of the year have seen totals of 240, 278 and 251 points scored. This Sacramento team simply doesn’t play any defense worth noting, and the Kings are capable of putting up serious points. Denver is loaded with firepower as well. The Nuggets might not be playing as well as expected offensively right now, but they are 3-0 and just beat the Golden State Warriors on Sunday. Between star center Nikola Jokic, four-time All-Star Paul Millsap and a pair of offensively gifted guards in Gary Harris and Jamal Murray, it’s only a matter of time before this Nuggets team hangs 130 on an opponent—especially in Denver. This looks like the game they’ll do it, as the Kings don’t have the type of defenders they need to prevent this Nuggets team from scoring at will. Look for Jokic to flirt with another triple double and don’t be shocked if Murray puts up 30 in this one.
Pick: Over (228.5)
3. Philadelphia Sixers at Detroit Pistons (-1)
7:00 pm ET
This line is so small that it looks like something of a trap, but it’s simply too tough to lay off the Sixers in this one. Since the start of 2016, Philadelphia is an impressive 21-9 against the spread when playing with two days rest and 28-14 against the spread when coming off three straight games of allowing 105 points or more. The Sixers have had some time to rest up and prepare defensively for this meeting against a Pistons team that should be ready to go tonight. Detroit is 2-0 straight up to start the year, but those wins came against the Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls. And the fact that their last win came against Chicago isn’t exactly a great thing, as the Pistons are 3-9 against the spread when coming off a win over a division rival since the start of 2016. Looking at the rosters makes this even more dicey for Detroit, even with Ben Simmons doubtful to play. With Joel Embiid and Robert Covington, the Sixers have the type of defenders that can stop Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond inside. There’s a reason the Sixers went 4-0 both straight up and against the spread when facing the Pistons last season, and it’s hard to see that changing.
Pick: Sixers (+1)