By Bill Speros | | 4 mins
NBACast returns with Zion Williamson-Luka Doncic showdown
Two of the NBA’s most-dynamic young stars — Zion Williamson and Luka Doncic — face off for the first time in a nationally televised game Wednesday that will be featured on the bookies.com-sponsored NBACast.
The New Orleans Pelicans and Williamson will close out a home-and-road schedule patch against the Mavericks and Doncic in Dallas.
Williamson poured in a team-high 25 points Tuesday night but the Pelicans lost 139-134 at home to Minnesota. The rotund rookie played 33 minutes in what was only his 16th NBA game. More importantly in a big test of his development, Wednesday will mark the first back-to-back of his playing career.
Doncic returned to the Mavericks’ lineup in a 109-107 loss to the Bulls in Chicago Monday. The favored Mavs fell outright after the Slovenian super sophomore rimmed a 47-foot, half-court shot at the buzzer. Doncic sat during the Mavericks’ win on Sunday. He is nursing an injured thumb.
RELATED: Check out our NBA Expert's three best bets for Wednesday’s action and our free NBA picks every day of the season
“That’s why I practice those,” Doncic told The Dallas Morning News . “I was pissed I didn’t make that shot. In my mind I’m supposed to make that shot.”
Fans of NBA betting can follow the action Wednesday via the NBACast, co-hosted by NBA experts Nate Duncan and Danny Leroux, starting at 9:30 p.m. The #NBACast offers live, in-game analysis, up-to-the second breakout stats and — as always — will take your questions. The NBACast is sponsored by Bookies.com.
The game will also air on ESPN.
Doncic and Williamson have quickly emerged as the face and future of their respective franchises, despite having played only a combined 137 career NBA games. The 6-7, 230-pound Doncic is averaging 28.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists a game this season. He has been remarkably consistent in regard to his performances at home and on the road this season and is actually averaging more points (28.6) on the road than at home (28.4).
Williamson has roared into his shortened rookie season. The stout 6-6, 284-pound Williamson is scoring 24.2 points per game while averaging just 29.1 minutes at the “small” forward position.
The 37-25 Mavericks rest comfortably above the cutoff line in the Western Conference to make the playoffs. Dallas is No. 7 in the West but sits just four games back in the loss column behind fourth-place Houston. The Rockets remain a prohibitive favorite to win the Southwest Division at -357. The Mavs are +250. Both odds are available at bet365.
Doncic is a long play to win MVP honors at +2000, according to bookmakers at Caesar’s .
Starters Kristaps Porzingis (left knee) and Seth Curry (lower back) rested in Dallas’ loss Monday.
The arrival of Williamson has given the Pelicans a lift in the hunt for the final playoff spot in the West. New Orleans (No. 12) is four games behind No. 8 Memphis. Meanwhile, Williamson has surged in betting to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award. After being the favorite when taken with the No. 1 pick last June, Williamson’s odds tumbled in the fall as he sat with a shoulder injury. Since his debut, Williamson has popped up to +275 at BetMGM to nab ROY honors. Ja Morant holds as the strong favorite at -340.
Doncic dominated the Williamson-less Pelicans in three previous meetings this season. He posted a triple-double and scored eight of his 25 points in the final five minutes when the Mavericks beat the Pelicans 123-116 on Oct. 26 during New Orleans’ home opener. Doncic then poured in 33 points as the Mavs routed the host Pelicans 118-97 on Dec. 3. Four days later, Doncic had 28 points in just 26 minutes as the Mavs rolled to a 130-84 victory in Dallas.
NBA MVP ODDS: Experts Make Their Picks