New Orleans will play their second game in as many nights as they head to OKC to face a rebuilding Thunder team. Of all the ways for a game to end, Zion Williamson getting blocked by Nikola Jokic at the rim is the last thing any person would have predicted. But that is exactly what occurred. NOLA lost a big one while Denver stayed cruising.
After being down big late, the Pelicans hit a number of clutch buckets, forcing some crazy turnovers along the way. The game came to the wire, and after Brandon Ingram hit a clutch three, he also made the pass to set Zion up in the paint for the tying basket. Neither team having timeouts; it probably would have sent things to OT. But, he was blocked, and that was that. Another disappointing loss.
OKC, on the other hand, comes off a blowout loss to Philly, losing by over 40. They had defeated the Celtics the last time they had played, marking their first win in over a month. Fourteen losses in a row, and they finally broke out of it. Injuries have plagued them and forced a number of players into duty. The game against Boston saw them use the youngest starting five in NBA history.
Odds: The spread for Thursday night favors the Pelicans, NOP -8.5. The over/under is set at 229.5 points.
Pels Seeking Road Win
As it stands now, the playoffs will not be in the cards for the Pelicans. Two years in a row with Zion and Ingram, both playing great, unable to get the team over the hump. After struggling in the bubble, the lack of consistency then went ahead and blended into this season too. They will need to make some serious roster changes in the offseason if they want to improve things.
Zion’s recent comments about loving playing at MSG should mean nothing for this team’s future, but they’d be wise to put a better team around him to entice him to re-sign in a few years. Small markets always get cast aside, with big-name guys opting to choose larger organizations and greener pastures.
They have to hope this time can be different.
OKC Seeks Rare Win
A loss is a win for the Thunder. A win is also a win because it means that the core guys who are healthy are doing enough to help the team get some wins. With SGA missing a number of games in recent months, the team’s future superstar has been unable to grow with these guys. They’ll be able to figure that all out on day one next year.
The draft approach is what matters most for the Thunder. How long do they want to be ‘bad’ for? Do they want to package some of the many picks they have for a star now? They have made several trades in consecutive offseasons, so their decisions this summer will be vital.
If they can beat New Orleans, it will be national news.
Pelicans Win Big
The game won’t be close, as Zion, Ingram, and Lonzo Ball carry New Orleans to a win.
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OVER/UNDER: OVER 229.5
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