Cleveland Cavaliers vs New Orleans Pelicans

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

In the first game back from the All-Star break for both teams, the Cleveland Cavaliers prepare to travel to New Orleans to take on the Pelicans. The Cavs’ young core led by Collin Sexton showed promise in the first half of the season, but it did not necessarily amount to wins. They come into Friday night with a 14-22 overall record and hope to take a big leap in the second half. The Pelicans feature a 15-21 record, and come into the second half of the season with a tremendously talented young core led by first-year All-Star Zion Williamson, and hope to have success in the second half of the year and have a shot at the postseason by season’s end.

What does the future hold for Andre Drummond this season?

Cleveland big man Andre Drummond’s future with the team is definitely in limbo and probably will be until after the trade deadline. Drummond was brought in to provide a physical presence inside and be a rebounding machine like he was in Detroit, but it has not exactly panned out. Cleveland is in full rebuild mode, and hope to build around point guard Collin Sexton, which makes Drummond expendable, as he is a veteran that does not fit their future, and has an aging skillset.

For now, though, Drummond prepares to take the floor for Friday night’s contest, and will be up against another physical big man presence in Steven Adams, and will be tested in the paint heavily by budding superstar Zion Williamson. Williamson goes to the rack more than just about anyone in basketball, so Drummond and the rest of the Cleveland frontcourt will undoubtedly have their hands full. If their guard play is solid though, as it has been at times this season, they will have a good chance Friday night.

Can the Pelicans finally make the jump into becoming a real threat in the West?

People have been patient for over a year now, waiting for the Pelicans’ young core of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart to become either superstars or significant impact players, but the time is now to make that jump. The Pelicans were inconsistent in the first half of the year, but when they were on, they gave good teams fits, as their physicality and playmaking ability is truly special from their young players.

The Pelicans are currently on the outside looking into the crowded Western Conference playoff picture, but many believe that with how they closed out the first half, they could be due for a great run to end the year. They need to play to their strengths and not try and be something they are not, as they have the talent to score with incredibly high-efficiency on offense with the personnel that they feature. They have length, strength, and explosiveness, and they hope to put on display why they are a real threat coming into the second half of the season on Friday night.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet

The Pelicans proved to me that when they are on their game, they are truly hard for anyone to stop. On paper, they are a matchup nightmare as they are long, can shoot, and can get physical in the paint, but their issue has been consistency. I think, however, that Friday night, with the All-Star break over, they will come out locked in, and get a home victory against a Cleveland team who is about ready to blow the whole thing up.

Pelicans -7

Want another opinion on this pick?


Full-Game Total Pick

Looking at the players in this matchup, it is hard to think that this could be a high-scoring game. Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart are both good and willing defenders and will be on Collin Sexton all night, and I think that the big men including Brandon Ingram, will see the majority of the looks on offense, which will make for a slower pace, with not a high volume of shooting.