Game: Oklahoma City Thunder @ New Orleans Pelicans
Time: 7PM CST
Location: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans
Broadcast: ESPN, FSOK
The Thunder are coming fresh off a big win at home over the Utah Jazz, where just about everything went right. Just about everything. Russell Westbrook continues to battle some combination of physical and mental distress, so while he can still post triple-doubles in his sleep, he can’t seem to make a free throw. This will be something to watch as he battles against the always tough Jrue Holiday.
However, Westbrook may have a break, because here is tonight’s Pelicans injury report:
#Pelicans injury report - 12.12 vs. OKC: pic.twitter.com/ooTQLJ5u6o— Pelicans PR (@PelicansPR) December 11, 2018
Without PG Elfrid Payton and wing player Nikola Mirotic, Billy Donovan is presented with some interesting opportunities defensively. Could we see Paul George, not having to worry about Mirotic, guarding Holiday for stretches, knowing that the Thunder have one of the rare defensive combos in Steven Adams and Jerami Grant who can pair up to defend Anthony Davis? It may perhaps give Westbrook a little bit of a break defensively, as he faces the team who, when they last played, resulted in Westbrook’s ankle sprain.
On the other end of the court, while New Orleans has one of the league’s best offenses, their defense has struggled. In their first matchup, OKC won with a score of 122-116 and had one of their signature hammerfall 3rd quarters that propelled them to victory.
Defensive aggression early on — but without heavy fouling on Davis — combined with patience on offense should give the Thunder a pathway to victory. But we also said that about Chicago.
Who do you think will win tonight?
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