Kevin Durant vs. Zion Williamson? Yes, please! We will witness those two go at it this Thursday, as the Brooklyn Nets host the New Orleans Pelicans.

Catch this game live on Thursday, April 8, at 7:30 AM, Manila time

HOME TEAM: Brooklyn Nets (35-16, 21-6 at home)

Projected Starting Five:

  • PG: Kyrie Irving
  • SG: Joe Harris
  • SF: Kevin Durant
  • PF: Jeff Green
  • C: LaMarcus Aldridge

The Nets learned that James Harden will be out for at least 10 days after suffering a hamstring injury in Brooklyn’s 114-112 home win over the New York Knicks on Tuesday. But the good news for them is that Kevin Durant is expected to return to action this Thursday against New Orleans. 

That will give the Nets a 1-2 combo of Kyrie Irving and Durant, which should be more than enough for Brooklyn to take care of business against the Pelicans, who are also riddled with injuries. Irving carried the Nets in the Knicks game, exploding for 40 points on 15-28 shooting from the floor. Jeff Green had a nice game going as well, as he had 23 points. 

Durant’s return and Irving’s steadiness are bad news for New Orleans’ scoring defense that is just 26th in the NBA. The Pelicans are allowing 115.1 points per game, with opponents also recording 55.8 eFG%  — third-highest overall.  The Under is 8-2 in the Nets’ last 10 home games.

ROAD TEAM: New Orleans Pelicans (22-28, 8-15 on the road)

Projected Starting Five:

  • PG: Lonzo Ball
  • SG: Eric Bledsoe
  • PF: James Johnson 
  • PF: Zion Williamson
  • C: Steven Adams

Despite Zion Williamson returning to action, the Pelicans failed to score a win on Wednesday, losing to the Atlanta Hawks on the road, 123-107. Still, the Pels must have liked what they saw from Williamson, who showed that he’s way past the hand injury that caused him to sit three games. 

Williamson ended up with 34 points on 12-of-18 shooting from the floor. Williamson’s combination of freakish athleticism and bulk gives him a lot of opportunity to abuse defenders. Brooklyn’s Swiss cheese defense should get warped by Williamson, who is so good at drawing fouls. He’s a main reason why the Pelicans are third in the NBA with 25.2 free-throw attempts per game. 

The Pelicans might not have Brandon Ingram, though. Ingram has missed the last four Pelicans games and as of this writing, the former Duke Blue Devils star is labeled questionable for the matchup with Brooklyn. The Pelicans are 4-1 against the spread in their last five games after failing to cover in the previous contest.

PREDICTIONS:

Spread:

Zion Williamson will have a field day getting his points, but those will not be enough to beat Brooklyn. The Nets will win and cover -10.5 against New Orleans.

Over/Under:

The Pels and the Nets are top 10 in the league in scoring offense. That said, New Orleans plays at a much slower pace than Brooklyn, thanks in large part to its offensive rebounding. Take the Under 231.

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