It’s win or go home for both the Oklahoma City Thunder and the New Orleans Pelicans this Thursday, as both teams each look to advance to the next round of the Play-in Tournament. Will the Thunder strike? Or, will the Pelicans neutralize Oklahoma City?
Catch this game live on Thursday, April 13, at 9:30 AM, Manila time
Away: Oklahoma City Thunder (40-42/16-25 Away)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
- SG: Josh Giddey
- SF: Luguentz Dort
- PF: Jalen Williams
- C: Jaylin Williams
The Thunder will enter Thursday’s game in solid form, as they closed out their regular-season schedule with back-to-back wins over the Utah Jazz (114-98) on the road and against the Memphis Grizzlies at home (115-110). And while they are 1-3 in four meetings with New Orleans in the regular season, the Thunder won the most recent matchup, 110-96, on the road back in March. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 35 points in that contest. That game also extended Oklahoma City’s streak of successful covers in New Orleans to six, dating back to 2019.
Gilgeous-Alexander has been hot lately, having averaged 33.0 points on 50 FG% in his last four games. Another primary reason the Thunder have basketball to be played beyond the regular season is rookie Jalen Williams, who’s been contributing well across the board for the team. Over the last 10 Thunder games, Williams averaged 18.0 points on 53.8 FG% while also shooting 42.9 3FG%.
Home: New Orleans Pelicans (42-40/27-14 Home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: CJ McCollum
- SG: Trey Murphy III
- SF: Brandon Ingram
- PF: Herbert Jones
- C: Jonas Valanciunas
Unlike the Thunder, the Pelicans are coming off a loss in their final game of the regular season. New Orleans suffered a 113-108 defeat at the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves Monday which also snapped a two-game win streak for the Pelicans. Nevertheless, the Pels are playing at home for this all-important showdown in the Play-in Tournament versus a team that, as mentioned earlier, they have already beaten three times back in the regular season.
Brandon Ingram played just once in the regular season versus the Thunder, while CJ McCollum appeared twice. This time around, both are healthy and ready to capitalize on Oklahoma City’s defense which is just 19th in the NBA with 116.6 points allowed per game. Oklahoma City also gives up a ton of free-throw attempts. It’s in fact 26th with teams averaging 25.6 FTA/G against the Thunder. New Orleans, on the other hand, is 10th with 24.3 FTA/G.
Spread: The Thunder (+5.5) cover the spread.
Over/Under: The total (228.0) hits the Over.