The New Orleans Pelicans and the Brooklyn Nets will be going at it head-to-head this Thursday for their respective season openers. Will the Pelicans score a victory in Zion Williamson’s grand return? Or, will the Nets start things off with a win in the first game together of Ben Simmons, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant?
Catch this game live on Thursday, October 20, at 7:30 am, Manila time
Away: New Orleans Pelicans (0-0/0-0 Away)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: CJ McCollum
- SG: Brandon Ingram
- SF: Herbert Jones
- PF: Zion Williamson
- C: Jonas Valanciunas
After missing the entire 2021-22 NBA season because of a foot injury, Zion Williamson is finally making his return to action, beginning this Thursday against the Nets. Williamson recently sprained his ankle but reports are very optimistic about his chances to play in the Pelicans’ season opener. The former Duke Blue Devils star rejoins a Pelicans team that finished 18th a season ago with 109.3 points per game and 13th in scoring defense with 110.2 points allowed per contest.
Needless to say, Williamson’s presence will have a huge impact on the Pelicans’ offensive efficiency, given the fact that he owns a career 64 TS%. Together with CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram around Williamson, expect New Orleans to be more than a handful for Brooklyn’s defense that was 20th in 2021-22 with 113.0 points allowed per 100 possessions. The Over is 4-1 in New Orleans’ last five games.
Home: Brooklyn Nets (0-0/0-0 Home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Kyrie Irving (probable)
- SG: Cam Thomas
- SF: Ben Simmons
- PF: Kevin Durant
- C: Nic Claxton
The Nets will continue to go as far as where Kevin Durant takes them, but this time around, he should have a lighter load with Kyrie Irving now allowed to play home games despite being unvaccinated against COVID-19. Ben Simmons is also finally going to be relevant again after hibernating for so long. Last season, Durant played in only 55 games but the Nets still managed to generate 112.9 points per game while shooting 47.5 FG% and 36.1 3FG%.
Durant led the team with 29.9 points per outing while Irving produced 27.4 PPG. Don’t sleep on Cam Thomas to have a great game right out of the gate this Thursday, as he’s slated to see expanded minutes with both Joe Harris and Seth Curry unavailable for the Pelicans game due to lower-body injuries. Irving can be viewed as probable after he and his wife just welcomed a new baby last week which caused him to miss a preseason game against the Miami Heat.
The Nets are 7-1 against the spread in their last eight meetings with New Orleans.
Spread The Pelicans (+3) cover.
Over/Under: The Over (230.0) hits.