Our Friday night NBA matchup will have the Miami Heat on the road against the New Orleans Pelicans in a cross-conference dual.
The Pelicans are fighting their way to try and take the eighth seed in the Western Conference while the Heat have hovered around the fourth seed.
Both teams have made incredible leaps this season, and Zion Williamson has been as incredible as any rookie NBA player in the last 25 years.
The Pelicans draw the favorite at home at -1.5 with the over/under set at 235.
A newfound Miami Heat culture
When the Heat acquired Jimmy Butler this off-season, most predicted it would spell disaster. After all, Butler tore apart the Timberwolves organization and didn’t mesh too well with Philly.
Well, maybe the organizations were the problem and Butler has now found his home in Miami. His gritty attitude and work ethic have been welcomed by the city and he is leading this team to new heights.
Saying they have a chance at an NBA title seems like a long shot, but Butler and Bam Adebayo have continually shown their chops this season and are two of the leagues top 20 players.
In this matchup against the Pelicans, I think Adebayo can have a special game. He will be tasked with guarding Zion, and I think his defense will be able to contain Zion in the paint and lead to transition bucket opportunities.
This Heat team is as good as any team in the east, and they have a chance to make some noise this season.
The lottery that saved New Orleans
Not too long ago, the Pelicans won the Anthony Davis sweepstakes and were able to draft the perennial all-star number one overall.
Davis wanted out last season, and the Pelicans traded him to the Lakers for a group of young players that included Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and draft picks.
They signed savvy veterans like JJ Redick and Derrick Favors, and then of course, they won this year’s lottery for Zion Williamson.
Zion sat out the first couple months after repairing some damage in his knee, but since his return from surgery he has easily surpassed all expectations and ascended to one of the best players in the league.
He can put up a 20 and 10 on any team in the league and has shown his elite offensive playmaking and scoring.
One area to improve for him is his defense, as he looks lost at times, but I think we are witnessing the next great super star of the NBA.
Pelicans take care of business at home
I love what the Heat have done for the entirety of this regular season, but I think New Orleans is finally going to start paying attention to their basketball team.
A Friday night ESPN game will draw a fairly big crowd, and I think Zion and the Pelicans will show out on national television on their home court.
I am taking the Pelicans to win this one in a close contest with Zion and Lonzo Ball closing the game in the final possessions. Bet the Pelicans -1.5!