The exciting matchups keep on coming with the Phoenix Suns set to host the New Orleans Pelicans at Footprint Center on Friday.
The two teams have made positive headlines early in the season, with both looking impressive as they’ve garnered 3-1 records. The Suns have re-established some dominance with comprehensive wins over the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors, while the Pelicans appear one of the deepest teams in the league led by Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum.
There’ll be a plethora of talent on show when the Phoenix Suns face the New Orleans Pelicans in another battle of Western Conference heavyweights.
Fanduel Sportsbook Odds
Phoenix Suns (-250), New Orleans Pelicans (+205)
Spread line: 6.5
Over/Under Total Points: 225
*Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
Expected Starting Lineups
Phoenix Suns: Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Deandre Ayton
New Orleans Pelicans: CJ McCollum, Herbert Jones, Naji Marshall, Zion Williamson, Jonas Valanciunas
New Orleans Pelicans
Questionable – Jose Alvarado, Dyson Daniels, Herb Jones, CJ McCollum, Zion Williamson
Out – Brandon Ingram, Kira Lewis Jr. E.J Liddell
Phoenix Suns – Ish Wainright (out), Jae Crowder (not with team)
Take the current odds with a grain of salt given the Pelicans’ extensive injury report. Ingram is a big out and they’ll be sweating on the fitness of fellow starts in McCollum, Williamson and Jones, with the latter two having missed Tuesday’s win over the Dallas Mavericks.
Key Matchup – Who has Zion?
If Williamson is fit and ready to go, who at the Suns gets the first opportunity of slowing the human freight train? Cameron Johnson is the corresponding power-forward but he’d be fighting out of his weight division.
Mikal Bridges would have been the matchup for Ingram, so does he now take the challenge of Williamson? Despite possessing underrated strength on his wiry frame, you still prefer Bridges on the perimeter than battling on the inside. Deandre Ayton has the strength and size but doesn’t hold the explosiveness, speed or lateral quickness to keep in front of Williamson off the dribble.
It’s that combination of physical tools and skills that makes him such a nightmare matchup and basically unguardable, even despite a scoring limitation beyond just a few feet. If he does play, then you can likely pencil him in for 25+ points.
The same can be said for Devin Booker at the moment, although the fitness of Jones will be of much interest. If the second-year man does play, then he may present the toughest defensive opponent for Booker who’s currently in some of the hottest form of his career.
Even with Ingram out, Tuesday’s match against Dallas is proof that this is a deeply talented Pelicans roster who can beat any team in the league. There’s too much uncertainty around them to fully think they’ll upset the Suns here, but don’t be surprised if it were to occur.
Final Score: Suns win 113-106