Tip-Off: 7 PM CT
Location: Smoothie King Center (New Orleans, Louisiana))
Television: Bally Sports Oklahoma
Radio: WWLS 98.1FM OKC The Sports Animal
Twitter: Follow @ZacharyLowNBA for live-tweets and discussion during the game
The Oklahoma City Thunder is riding a two-game winning streak after mounting a 16-point comeback at home on Sunday against the San Antonio Spurs to move to 3-6 on the season. Tonight, they take on the NBA’s worst record in the New Orleans Pelicans.
Entering the season, the Thunder was expected to lose a lot of games. The Pelicans, however, were expected to be a playoff contender. At this rate, however, neither team will sniff the playoffs, and while that’s not really a bad thing for OKC, it’s looking worse and worse for New Orleans.
The Pelicans will look to get back on track as they host the young Thunder squad, and this one might just go the way of New Orleans because of one man in particular: Jonas Valanciunas. Valanciunas bounced from Toronto to Memphis before landing in New Orleans, and while he’s not a name that gets a ton of attention, anybody who knows anything about NBA basketball knows that he’s a capable big man.
In three games against Oklahoma City last season, Jonas Valanciunas averaged 18 points and 13.6 rebounds per game while shooting 61%. The Thunder don’t have the ability to stop a scoring big man like Valanciunas, so if the Pelicans want to get a win tonight, he will likely be the key. OKC, on the other hand, is going to have to work hard to slow him down, and I’m just not sure that they can do that.
- PG: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
- SG: Luguentz Dort
- SF: Josh Giddey
- PF: Darius Bazley
- C: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl
- PG: Devonte’ Graham
- SG: Nickeil Alexander-Walker
- SF: Josh Hart
- PF: Brandon Ingram
- C: Jonas Valanciunas
- Paul Watson is OUT (G League – two-way).
- Aaron Wiggins is OUT (G League – two-way).
- Daulton Hommes is OUT (stress fracture in right fibular).
- Brandon Ingram is QUESTIONABLE (right hip contusion).
- Herbert Jones is QUESTIONABLE (sore left ankle).
- Zion Williamson is OUT (fractured right foot).
- Since arriving in Oklahoma City in 2008, the Thunder is 29-17 against the Pelicans (16-8 at home, 13-9 on the road).
- The Thunder has won the season series with the Pelicans 8 times, tied it once, and lost it 44 times.
- The Thunder went 1-1 against the Pelicans last season (0-2 at home, 1-0 on the road).
- The Thunder has won the last 3 matchups with the Pelicans at Smoothie King Center.