The Boston Celtics have pushed forward to hold one of the best records in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics are coming off a double-digit win over the Orlando Magic.
Meanwhile, the New Orleans Pelicans are looking to make a push towards the playoffs, especially after Zion Williamson makes his return to the court. The Pelicans are heading into the contest after falling to Denver Nuggets at home.
Celtics looking to stay on trackThroughout the first half of the season, the Celtics have pushed their way forward to being around the top tier in the Eastern Conference behind their steady play. That has seen their core group head the charge with some balanced play across the board that have lifted them to one of the better marks in the league. They have worked through various injuries while they have stayed even keel through it all, which should see them in the mix for a potential deep playoff run in the Eastern Conference. Offseason addition All-Star point guard Kemba Walker has been their leading scorer throughout the year and has fit in seamlessly into the fold with Boston.
Walker has been as consistent as they come that saw him earn another All-Star Game start that further cements his status as one of the top players in the NBA. He leads the Celtics with 22.1 points while shooting 44.6 percent from the floor and 39.4 percent from beyond the arc. Walker has scored 20 or more points three times in the last five contests that include more than 30 points twice topped by a 40-point output against the Milwaukee Bucks. It has been much more than just Walker's production that headed the charge for the team. However, there are question marks around the status of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown for the contest as they both missed Friday's game. That said, the Celtics have enough depth that includes former All-Star forward Gordon Hayward, who is coming off a double-double with 22 points and 14 rebounds that should push them forward.
Pelicans hoping return of Zion Williamson pushes them forwardThe Pelicans have had plenty of ups and downs this season that has been more the latter as the season has unfolded, with their youth leading the charge. New Orleans had a rough start out of the gate that saw them hold one of the worst marks in the league, but they have steadily pushed their way back towards the right direction over the last few weeks. They have stumbled a bit over the last few games, but the Pelicans have had some promising play from their core group that has been led by Brandon Ingram putting forth a career-best campaign that has seen him average a career-high 25.2 points on 46.1 percent shooting from the floor and 39.1 percent from beyond the arc.
Meanwhile, the team finally got the long-awaited return of rookie big Zion Williamson, who has quickly become a sparkplug for the team on the court. Williamson had a historic debut saw him become the first player to score 22 points in their first game in less than 20 minutes played. He was also the first player to hit 4-for-4 in their first NBA game. Williamson followed it up on Friday with 15 points and six rebounds in 21 minutes. Williamson brings an incredible spark to the team that has lifted them forward on the court, despite him playing in a small role on the floor. He will continue to stay in that spot for Sunday's game and for the foreseeable future over the rest of the year. The Pelicans have the offensive firepower to make it an intriguing game, but it's hard to trust that their defensive woes won't show up against one of the better teams in the league.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Oddsshark.com, are:
- New Orleans is 2-4 ATS in their last six games when playing at home against Boston.
- Boston is 4-1 ATS in their last five games.
- Boston is 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games against New Orleans.