Friday, April 12, 2024
Fantasy Guru - Baseball

NBA Preview: Oklahoma City Thunder (49-21) at New Orleans Pelicans (44-27

The New Orleans Pelicans will attempt to duplicate their road success at home when they host six consecutive games, beginning with a contest against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday.

The Pelicans just finished a 3-1 road trip and are tied with the Minnesota Timberwolves for most road victories (24) among Western Conference teams. New Orleans’ 20 home victories, though, are the lowest among any of the top six teams in the West.

Though this matches the Pelicans’ longest homestand of the season, it also represents one of their most challenging stretches.

After the game against the Thunder, who are in the thick of the race for the top seed in the West, four more of the better teams in the NBA — the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns — are set to visit New Orleans. The homestand concludes with a game against the San Antonio Spurs on April 5.

New Orleans (44-27) has won five of its past six and nine of 11 since the start of the month.

The Pelicans are 2-0 since second-leading scorer Brandon Ingram was sidelined for around two weeks because of a bone contusion in his left knee that occurred during a loss at Orlando on Thursday.

In the first game without Ingram, leading scorer Zion Williamson had a career-low four points, but New Orleans still rolled past the Miami Heat on the road Friday.

Williamson said he “wasn’t tripping over that game” and bounced back less than 48 hours later to tie his season-high with 36 points, shooting 13 of 14 from the floor in a 114-101 victory at Detroit. Williamson added seven rebounds and six assists.

Head coach Willie Green usually gives Williamson a rest midway through the first quarter and brings him back late in the period. But he left Williamson in for the entire first quarter against the short-handed Pistons.

The Thunder (49-21) were doing well on the road themselves, winning three straight away from home before a lopsided 118-93 loss at Milwaukee on Sunday night.

Oklahoma City missed its first 13 field-goal attempts in the third quarter and the Bucks had an 18-3 run while outscoring the Thunder 34-17 in the period.

The Thunder had won four in a row and seven of eight overall but had their lowest point total and lowest shooting percentage (37.1) of the season. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored just 12 points, his lowest scoring output since scoring seven in the third game of the season, and he sat out the fourth quarter with the game out of hand.

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