Rockets vs. Pelicans NBA Preview

New Orleans Pelicans

Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans shoots the ball against the Indiana Pacers. Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP

 

The Rockets are struggling without Christian Wood and will now have to take on a powerful rebounding team in the Pelicans without their best rebounder. How much of an impact will Wood’s absence make? Here’s the best bet.

 

Houston Rockets vs. New Orleans Pelicans

Tuesday, February 09, 2021 – 07:30 PM EST at Smoothie King Center

Houston’s Injury Issues

The banged up Houston Rockets (11-12) will take the road to face the New Orleans Pelicans (10-12).

The Rockets will likely be without Christian Wood but could have John Wall back in the lineup after missing yesterday’s game. The Rockets have not been great offensively averaging 108.3 points per possession. Houston is averaging a 53.8 percent effective field goal percentage and barely gets offensive rebounds, especially with Wood off the floor. On top of that, Houston has struggled with turnovers and turned the ball over 15.6 percent of the time.

The Rockets will be led by Victor Oladipo, who is questionable at this very moment. Oladipo is averaging 19.6 points per game along with 5.2 assists and 4.9 rebounds. If Wall returns, he’d be the second leading scorer for the Rockets in this game as he averages 18.8 points along with six assists and 3.7 rebounds.

The Rockets don’t have much depth on their roster which has hurt in the long run. When guys are out and injured, Houston has nobody stepping up.

Defensively, Houston has been much better. They’ve prevented teams from scoring, allowing opponents to score 109.3 points per game and 107.4 points per 100 possessions. They’re limiting opponents to a 51.4 percent effective field goal percentage and force turnovers had a solid rate this season.

The Rockets will get owned on the glass against the Pelicans, especially without Wood, which will be a problem as they only average 44.1 rebounds per game with Wood on the floor.

 

Pelicans Offense is Clicking

The Pelicans have had trouble on defense this season but offense hasn’t been a problem. The Pelicans average 111.5 points per game and score 112.7 points per 100 possessions this season. They’re shooting an average of 53.7 percent effective field goal percentage, which is about the league average as well. The Pelicans do have their turnover issues and Houston could capitalize on those mistakes but if the Pelicans are able to just get shots up, they’ll be able to work the glass and get plenty of rebounds on both ends while getting to the foul line at a solid pace.

The Pelicans are led by Brandon Ingram who averages 23.9 points per game. Meanwhile, Zion Williamson has chipped him with 23.7 points per game along with 7.2 rebounds per game. Williams and Steven Adams have been a terrific rebounding tandem down low, averaging over 16 boards per game between the two.

The Pelicans have not been great on defense this season, however. They’re allowing teams to score 114.8 points per 100 possessions and are allowing teams to shoot an effective field goal percentage of 55.3 percent, which is one of the worst percentages in the NBA.

On top of that, they’ll rarely get turnovers but could see some steals fall into their lap going up against a Houston team that continues to make mistakes and errors in games. But all in all, the Pelicans will get more opportunities strictly due to their ability to rebound the basketball.

 

Prediction

There are four massive factors in the NBA. It’s effective field goal percentage, turnovers, rebounding and free throws. The Pelicans should win the turnover battle, rebounding battle and free throw battle. That’s enough for me to take the Pelicans against the spread in this spot. With Christian Wood out, the Rockets are going to get hammered on the glass all game.

NBA Pick: Pelicans -5 (-110) at Bet 365

 

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