Oklahoma City Thunder vs New Orleans Pelicans: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

WSN Picks: Oklahoma City Thunder defeat New Orleans Pelicans.

How to Watch

What: Oklahoma City Thunder at New Orleans Pelicans

Where: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

When: Thursday, 13 February 2020, 8:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): Fox Sports New Orleans, Fox Sports Oklahoma | ESPN 100.3 FM, WWLS 98.1FM OKC

Oklahoma City Thunder (Away)

Head Coach: Billy Donovan {All-Time 231-150 | OKC}

Season Record: 32-21

Projected Starting Five: (G) Chris Paul – (G) Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – (F) Luguentz Dort – (F) Danilo Gallinari – (C) Steven Adams

Top Performers

  • (G) Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – 35.6 MPG | 19.6 PPG | 6.2 RPG | 3.2 APG
  • (G) Dennis Schroeder – 31.2 MPG | 19.3 PPG | 4.1 RPG | 3.9 APG
  • (F) Danilo Gallinari – 30.7 MPG | 19.2 PPG | 5.7 RPG | .407 3P%

The Oklahoma City Thunder have found themselves a comfortable position at the sixth spot in the Western Conference table. They’ve overachieved with a +2.8 win differential and an 8-2 record over their last ten games.

The Thunder have benefitted from their incredible efficiency from the field, ability to get to the rim, and defensive intensity. While their offensive capabilities aren’t too varied, they’ve shown that they can lean on their defense to win games.

They take on a New Orleans Pelicans team that is excited to challenge them on all areas of the court. Adept from deep, in the paint, and in transition, the Pelicans pose a unique challenge to the Thunder.

New Orleans Pelicans (Home)

Head Coach: Alvin Gentry {All-Time 502-584 | MIA, DET, LAC, PHX, NOP}

Projected Starting Five: (G) Lonzo Ball – (G) Jrue Holiday – (F) Brandon Ingram – (F) Zion Williamson – (C) Derrick Favors

Season Record: 22-31

Top Performers

  • (F) Brandon Ingram – 34.1 MPG | 24.9 PPG | 6.4 RPG | 4.2 APG
  • (F) Zion Williamson – 26.9 MPG | 19.8 PPG | 7.5 RPG | .444 3P%
  • (G) Jrue Holiday – 34.7 MPG | 19.5 PPG | 6.4 APG | 4.7 RPG

The New Orleans Pelicans are on the outside looking in the Western Conference playoff race. Currently 11th in the west with a record of 22-31, they are five whole games behind the eighth seed Memphis Grizzlies. Despite rumors, they stood pat at the trade deadline.

The Pelicans are an offensively versatile team, who are fantastic in creation and conversion rating. They are however disappointing on the defensive side of the ball, showing their inexperience as the game drags on.

When New Orleans takes on the Thunder, they face a disciplined defensive outfit that can more than keep up with them across the court. New Orleans’ ability to convert from range will be put to the test.

What’s at Stake?

The New Orleans Pelicans and the Oklahoma City Thunder haven’t met many times due to the relative youth of their franchises. Over 42 meetings, the Thunder lead the Hornets 27-15.

A win for the Oklahoma City Thunder would bring them within half a game of the fifth-place Houston Rockets.

A win for the New Orleans Pelicans would bring them to tenth in the West, surpassing the San Antonio Spurs.

Questions to Answer

OKC: Can the Oklahoma City Thunder win inside?

NOP: Will the New Orleans Pelicans find a facet of their game to lean on?

We are going to compare the Oklahoma City Thunder and the New Orleans Pelicans in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

OKC: Can the Thunder Punish the Pelicans at the Rim?

Oklahoma City are a capable and diverse team on both ends of the court. Despite having a number of shooters on their perimeter, their strength comes from their ability to effectively attack the rim or draw fouls in the process.

The Thunder are incredible at drawing fouls. They are third in Free Throw Rate (29%) and they are first in the league in free throws per field-goal attempted at 23.3%. On top of a 12.4% turnover rate, their lightning-quick, three-guard action with Paul, Schroeder, and Gilgeous-Alexander is tough to match.

The Pelicans will try to bully their small lineup, but that has rarely worked due to the length of the Thunders’ backcourt. Winning in the paint will be essential, especially considering their modest three-point attempt rate.

NOP: Will the Pels Find Their Niche?

The New Orleans Pelicans are a young team. So to say that they need to rush into finding who they are would be unfair. They are unlikely to make the playoffs but are still in the hunt. Though they are fantastic offensively, they are yet to settle into one thing that defines them as a team.

The team balance on the Pelicans is interesting. They set a fantastic pace (3rd in NBA), shoot and convert on a lot of threes (5th in 3PA, 5th in 3P%), and move the ball around with intent (8th in AST). However, losses come frequently due to late-game execution and miscommunication on defense.

Their veteran pieces sometimes carry them through. Jrue Holiday was immense in a recent victory over the Indiana Pacers. Responsible for 14 of their last 36 points, he is the piece that puts it all together. They might not have one thing that they can fall back on quite yet, but they have parts that can certainly help them push through.

Oklahoma City Thunder Roster Notes

(F) Darius Bazely – 10 Feb 2020 – Out (Knee) – Bazley has a right knee bone bruise and will be re-evaluated in four to six weeks according to Royce Young of ESPN.com.

(G) Andre Roberson – 4 Dec 2019 – Out (Knee) – The Thunder announced that Roberson will continue his rehab away from the team for the time being and there is no timetable for his return.

New Orleans Pelicans Roster Notes

(F) Zion Williamson – 10 Feb 2020 – Day To Day (Ankle) – Williamson is listed as probable for Tuesday’s (Feb. 11) game against the Blazers.

(F) Brandon Ingram – 10 Feb 2020 – Day To Day (Ankle) – Ingram is questionable for Tuesday’s (Feb. 11) game against Portland.

(F) Kenrich Williams – 10 Feb 2020 – Out (Back) – Williams is listed as OUT for Tuesday’s (Feb. 11) game.

(F) Darius Miller – 23 Oct 2019 – Out (Achilles) – Miller is not expected to play this season as he recovers from a ruptured right Achilles tendon, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Head-to-Head: (G) Chris Paul vs (G) Jrue Holiday

Two veteran All-Star point guards take each other on when the Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Pelicans clash. Chris Paul has led his surprise Thunder team to a playoff position while Jrue Holiday continues to overachieve with an incredibly young cast.

(G) Chris Paul (6-1, 175lb (185cm, 79kg) | Wake Forest | 14 Years)

Season Age Team Games MP PTS REB AST FG% 3P%
19-20 34 OKC 52 31.7 17.2 5.0 6.6 .481 .351

Chris Paul is the engine that drives this Oklahoma City Thunder team. while he is not the scorer that he once was, his leadership on the court is inspiring the play of his two-point guard proteges. His impact on the game is felt when he scores the ball, as he averages 18.5 points and 6.3 assists in wins, versus 15.2 points and 7.0 assists in losses.

(G) Jrue Holiday (6-3, 205lb (190cm, 92kg) | UCLA | 10 Years)

Season Age Team Games MP PTS REB AST FG% 3P%
19-20 29 NOP 44 34.7 19.5 4.7 6.4 .439 .349

Jrue Holiday is a steadying presence for the New Orleans Pelicans. Not the strongest, fastest, or best shooter on his team, Holiday’s maturity on the ball and intelligence in distribution is vital to his teams success. Since February started, Holiday has struggled shooting the ball at only 36.1% from the field and 26.1% from deep. He’ll need to score efficiently if the Pelicans hope to defeat the Thunder.

Oklahoma City Thunder at New Orleans Pelicans Predictions

Why the Oklahoma City Thunder Will Win

The Oklahoma City Thunder spread teams thin on the perimeter and punish them once they arrive in the paint. Their capable shooters and more than interchangeable wing pieces add a defensive versatility that the Pelicans won’t be able to handle.

Why the New Orleans Pelicans Will Win

The New Orleans Pelicans go as their shooting goes. A deadly team from deep with little conscience on the matter, the Pels can punish the Thunder’s defense through volume alone. The transition play will also be a factor in their success.

WSN’s Pick

WSN Picks: Oklahoma City Thunder defeat New Orleans Pelicans.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs New Orleans Pelicans Odds


Good luck!

Sportsbook OKC Thunder Pelicans
DraftKings +110 -130
888Sport NJ +102 -121

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