Thunder/Pelicans Primer and Game Thread
The NBA schedule makers can't control how healthy players will be though out the season, with that being said, we got the short end of the stick. The Thunder hosted the Pelicans twice November and finish up the season series tonight, which means unless you have a ticket to this game, you're not seeing Zion Williamson.
Bad for us, but good for Billy Donovan and his team. In nine games, the 6-7 Williamson is playing 27 minutes, scoring 21 points, shooting 57 percent from the floor, grabbing seven rebounds, and hitting 40 percent of his threes. Oh, did I mention that he just rocked the Trailblazers for 31 on Tuesday? Williamson got to 30 in the fourth-fewest games in NBA history. He's also the fastest to do it since Allen Iverson.
So, yeah, this cat is something special in the vein of a LeBron James, not saying they are the same player, but good luck guarding him enough to slow him down.
What might help Oklahoma City tonight is Brandon Ingram is questionable with a right ankle sprain. If Ingram cant go, Niccolo Melli might get the start. Melli has played in all three games vs. the Thunder. His best outing came on the second of back to back with Oklahoma City when he logged 15 minutes, scoring six points.
If Melli plays, you could match up 6-10 Danilo Gallinari on Williamson, and let Lou Dort take a run guarding the less athletic Melli even though he has five inches on Dort. Taking a stab without speaking to Billy, but, I bet Dort gets the task of dealing with Zion at least in the first few minutes.
It's wishful thinking, but I'd like to see Mike Muscala get some time at four tonight. Donovan says it all depends on matchups, but he seems resigned to only use Muscala as a five in desperate situations, such as when Adams or Noel is in foul trouble. Numbers-wise, there isn't much difference between Nader and Muscala. I'm just a fan of having that 6-10 frame giving you a chance to extend possessions.
Be sure to click the comment box below and join the conversation during our game thread. Tipoff for Thunder/Pelicans is at 7 on Fox Sports Oklahoma.
That's about as good as a start as you can get. 4-0 off a couple of slam dunks. Gallinari Draws Zion, Adams with the and one with the rip move. 6-0 Thunder in the early going.
Gallinari with the "you can't call that foul" Ok, I didn't see it either. But, I guess we are going to give Zion star treatment. NOP up 13-12.
Noel in, Zion out at the 6:12 mark.
Excellent job by the Pelicans to get everybody over the stong side to open up the lane.
Thunder 16-4 on points in the paint.
Gilgeous-Alexander on the bench, Nader in, Paul back in, Ferguson in.
Thunder need to take advantage of their speed tonight. Bigger NOP lineup looks slow.
Ferguson needed that. He's such a confidence shooter. Let him get hot, and he can hit.
30-29 Pelicans at the end of one. Thunder shooting 50 percent from the floor and beyond the arc.
Ferguson guarding Zion. Don't like that matchup. Much prefer Nader on Zion, bigger body even he fouls, I'd rather have Williamson earn his points at the line.
Dang! Zion sent Nader's shot to the row of the Smoothie King Center.
Schroder was grabbing Williamson way before that pass. Easy clear path call.
38-39 Thunder with 7:37 to go. Zion is a 63 percent free-throw shooter, in case you were wondering.
11 lead changes 8 ties. Pelicans up 50-47 with 4:26 to go in the fourth. Lonzo Ball going to the charity stripe for the and one after a 27-foot jumper.
Didn't think that was a flagrant foul on Schroder. He's had a tough time with the refs the last couple of trips down the floor on the defensive end.
A 23-foot jumper from Dort gives Oklahoma City a 54-51 lead with 3 and change left in the second quarter.
YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! ADAMS FROM HALF COURT AT THE BUZZER! And the Shimmy! YES! THAT JUST HAPPENED!
A 58-foot jumper from Adams has the Thunder up 66-58 at the half.
There is proof! That was the first three of Adams's career!
Thunder with 17 points off of Pelicans turnovers.
Paul with at 26 foot three. Not as impressive as the 58-footer from Adams, but still showing some range.
Paul was fouled! He should be shooting three after that possession.
10-2 for New Orleans has Pelicans up 76-75.
Paul with a 27-foot three to put Oklahoma City back on the high side. 78-76.
Give me more Muscala! Preferably at the four, but if he has to play center, then why not.
Thunder on an 11-0 run to go up by 10 91-81.
Just once I'd like to be close enough to the Thunder bench to hear a conversation between Chris Paul and Mo Cheeks.
98-93 Thunder going into the fourth.
Schroder with a huge three to put the Thunder back on top 104-101.
The Pelicans have scored 104 points vs. Oklahoma City four times this year.
Gallinari for THREE! Dort with a save to keep the ball from going out of bounds. Thunder comes up empty. and Reddick hits a three to tie!
Steven Adams with back to back double-doubles!
Starting my gamer...now.