The Oklahoma City Thunder rebounded from Sunday’s home opener loss to the Denver Nuggets with an easy 124-112 win on Monday against the Detroit Pistons. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander got back to his old self by putting up 32 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals, and Chet Holmgren continued to shine as he knocked down 4-of-5 attempts from three and blocked 4 shots.
Now the Thunder is set to host the New Orleans Pelicans, a rematch of the first play-in game of last season, which the Thunder won 123-118. Since then, Chet Holmgren has recovered from injury to join the Thunder, and Zion Williamson has returned from injury to bolster the Pelicans. Like the Thunder, the Pelicans have also suffered a blowout loss this season, a 130-102 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Monday. New Orleans was grossly outrebounded by the Warriors 64-39, an area which they should be able to excel against OKC.
Simply put, the Thunder is going to have to protect the paint if they want to succeed against the Pelicans. Zion Williamson is not easily contained, and Chet Holmgren is clearly undersized in that matchup. I would expect OKC head coach Mark Daigneault to play plenty of Olivier Sarr tonight to help slow down the New Orleans bigs. In the backcourt, however, OKC has the advantage, especially if Brandon Ingram is unable to go for the Pelicans. Either way, this has the makings of a fun night with plenty of scoring.
Tip-Off: 6:30 PM CT
Location: Paycom Center (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
Television: Bally Sports Oklahoma
Radio: WWLS 98.1FM OKC The Sports Animal
Twitter: Follow @ZacharyLowNBA for live tweets and discussion during the game
- PG: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
- SG: Josh Giddey
- SF: Luguentz Dort
- PF: Jalen Williams
- C: Chet Holmgren
- PG: CJ McCollum
- SG: Brandon Ingram
- SF: Herbert Jones
- PF: Zion Williamson
- C: Jonas Valanciunas
- Keyontae Johnson is OUT (G League — two-way).
- Jaylin Williams is OUT (strained right hamstring).
- Kenrich Williams is OUT (lower back spasms).
- Jose Alvarado is OUT (sprained right ankle).
- Brandon Ingram is QUESTIONABLE (right knee soreness).
- Naji Marshall is OUT (right knee contusion).
- Trey Murphy II is OUT (partial meniscectomy in left knee).
- Since arriving in Oklahoma City in 2008, the Thunder is 32-20 against the Pelicans (17-9 at home, 15-11 on the road).
- The Thunder has won the season series with the Pelicans 10 times, tied it once, and lost it 4 times.
- The Thunder went 2-1 against the Pelicans last season in the regular season (1-1 at home, 1-0 on the road) and 1-0 in the play-in round of the postseason (1-0 on the road).