Preview 57 of 82: Thunder @ Pelicans
Time: 7:00 PM CST
TV: TNT & FSOK
Game Notes: Thunder / Pelicans
The Oklahoma City Thunder (37-19) are on the road tonight in New Orleans, taking on Anthony Davis and the Pelicans (25-33) at the Smoothie King Center. The Thunder enter having won four straight and 11 of their last 12 games. The Pelicans, on the other hand, have lost seven of their last 10 and were decimated by trades/rumored trades at last week’s deadline.
Tip-off is at 7:00 PM CST and will be televised on TNT and Fox Sports Oklahoma. The Thunder are 5-point road favorites according to Odds Shark.
- Jerami Grant: Out — Ankle
- Dennis Schroder: Out — Personal
- Andre Roberson: Out — Knee
- Elfrid Payton: Questionable — Ankle
- Trevon Bluiett: Out — Thumb
Pelicans: Jrue Holiday, E’Twaun Moore, Kenrich Williams, Anthony Davis, Jahlil Okafor
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What to Watch For
No Schroder & Grant. Like Monday’s game against Portland, the Thunder will be without Jerami Grant (ankle) and Dennis Schroder (personal) tonight against the Pelicans. Patrick Patterson figures to draw the start at power forward, with Raymond Felton and Deonte Burton seeing extended run in the absence of Schroder. The two guards combined for 33 points on 13-of-19 shooting against the Blazers. It’s doubtful they can recreate that effort, but they can give the second unit a shot of life if they’re remotely close to being as effective as they were on Monday.
The Brow. As always, the presence of Anthony Davis will make things tricky for the Thunder — but the situation Davis finds himself in with the Pelicans may provide a boost to OKC tonight. Davis is coming off a 3-point, 1-of-9 shooting effort in Tuesday’s loss to the Magic, and he’s only playing 27.7 minutes per game since he returned to the lineup following the trade deadline. Quite a dramatic fall from the 36.4 minutes he’s averaged for the season, so it’s possible the Thunder won’t have to deal with him as much as they normally would while New Orleans tries to keep him healthy for this summer’s trade bonanza. That’s obviously welcomed — particularly on a night Grant is out and with Steven Adams appearing a little hobbled on Monday.
The Other Guys. Outside of Davis, the Pelicans will be led by Jrue Holiday and Julius Randle — two guys that have played well against the Thunder this season. Jahlil Okafor and Kenrich Williams have both been playing some inspired basketball as of late, so expect them to get plenty of opportunities tonight against OKC. E’Twaun Moore (421.% 3P) and Darius Miller (37.3%) will need plenty of attention on the perimeter, as well. They can do work if they get hot.
PG Heat Check. Over the last two games, Paul George is averaging 46 points, and 11.5 rebounds — shooting 14-of-27 (51.8%) from downtown in the process. With back-to-back 45+ point efforts and a 39.7 PPG average in the month of February, it’s only fair to assume he keeps it rolling tonight in the final game before the All-Star break.
Historic Brodie. Russell Westbrook needs just five points to pass Gary Payton on the Thunder/Sonics all-time scoring list. He’ll also be looking for his 11th consecutive triple-double.
Streaking. With a win tonight, the Thunder will enter the All-Star break on a five-game winning streak — which would also be their 12th win in their last 13 outings. There’s arguably no hotter team in basketball at the moment, so while they might prefer to just continue playing instead of taking time off, OKC can hit the All-Star break on an absolute tear with another victory tonight in New Orleans.