The Pelicans return to New Orleans after a disappointing trip to Denver, happy to see that they’ll have both of their stars available to stand in front of OKC trio of Westbrook, George, and Anthony. Things haven’t been running smoothly for the Thunder, especially on the road, so they should be coming with a high sense of urgency to the Monday’s contest.
Thunder at Pelicans
Spread: Oklahoma City -2.5 (-110) at BetDSI Sportsbook
Total: o/u 214.5 points (-110)
OKC blow big lead, fall to the Spurs
After a recent 3-game home stand, the Oklahoma City Thunder were on the road in the heart of Texas. With Adams cleared to play, they had their best squad to face the shorthanded opponent, but the result was all the same. The Thunder simply can’t get it done on the road.
The game started with OKC suffocating the Spurs into a short-lived 23-point first half lead. The lead dwindled to just seven at the halftime break. The collapse continued into the second-half as the teams were tied at 78 going into the final frame. In typical OKC vs SA fashion, the game came down to the wire. Poor free throw shooting little imperfections did it for the Thunder. After looking so promising in the first half, they dropped their sixth game on the road 101-104 and slid under the .500 again. Defensively, the Thunder length bother the Spurs at first, and lured them into live ball turnovers and making them pay on the other side. However, they tend to be too happy going after the ball at times, showing no patience. Once the Spurs figured out how they can hurt the gambling defense, it didn’t look good. Oklahoma City’s defensive rating drops to an unfathomable 147 in the final 5 minutes of close games. Most of it comes from the lack of Westbrook’s effort to fight through screens, which then leaves Adams on an island with speedy guards. Similarly, the start of the game looked much different offensively. Oklahoma City’s offensive stars attacked the basket and kicked to stretch out the Spurs’ defense at first. However, as the Spurs started to mount their comeback, they reverted to good ol’ hero ball, settling for isolated, contested mid-range jumpers and barely moving the ball. Westbrook was the worst – he kept jacking up bad shots in hopes of catching fire, but finished with 5-of-22 shooting and no threes. He only had two turnovers, but that’s because he barely passed the ball. George was marginally better shooting the ball, going 5-of-16, but most of his attempts were just clean looks that wouldn’t drop. Anthony scored 20 and Adams added 16 points and 8 rebounds (6 of which on the offensive end!).
Wall is dealing with a fluid buildup in his left knee. The Wizards play 12 games in the next 22 days, 10 of which on the road. They come into Milwaukee on a late night flight from Toronto, where they’ll meet the Raptors today.
Place: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana
Date/Time: Monday, November 20th, 2017. 8:00 PM ET
TV Coverage: Fox Sports New Orleans, Fox Sports Oklahoma
The Pelicans duck under heavy fire, lose 114-146 in Denver
Anthony Davis has to leave the game against the Denver Nuggets early after being knocked out with a head collision. If there’s a good time to suffer a concussion and a memory loss, then this was it. The rest of his teammates had nowhere to hide and will surely remember the embarrassing 114-146 loss.
The Nuggets’ 146 points were the most New Orleans ever allowed in a single contest. While the final score of Friday’s loss may have been startling, the Pelicans’ poor play on defense has become a recurring issue. New Orleans allowed Denver to shoot 62.9 percent from the field only one game after allowing Toronto to shoot 59.2 percent from the field in the Pelicans’ loss on Wednesday. They are packing the paint but have been extremely vulnerable from outside. Denver knocked down 18 of their 35 attempts from the 3-point line on Friday and it was the fourth time in the last five games that New Orleans has allowed a team to make at least 15 3-pointers. New Orleans only trailed by eight points when Davis left the game, but the Nuggets went on to make 16 of their 18 shots to close the third quarter, heading into the final period holding a 26-point lead. When Davis left the game, the Pelicans’ belief that they could win the game without him and their effort was laughable. Denver scored 82 points in the final two periods. Offensively, the stats aren’t that bad. The Pelicans knocked down a fair share of their attempts (52.7 percent) and had six different players in double digit. Cousins has been starting slowly in the last few games and with the Pelicans game heavily depending on the star duo production, it had hurt them. He still finished with 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists while sitting out the fourth. Rondo started alongside Holiday, and it suited the later better. Relieved of the point guard duties, Holiday scored 13 points and had 6 assists. Moore was benched but didn’t mind – in fact, he was their most productive player with 16 points coming in from a 7-of-11 shooting. Jameer Nelson also played well against his former team.
Davis’ concussion from Friday night was the third of his career, but he has been quickly cleared and is probable to play on Monday. Veteran defender Tony Allen remains out.
Oklahoma City Thunder at New Orleans Pelicans Game Trends & Prediction
The Oklahoma City Thunder fell to 7-8 against the spread overall and 2-6 away from home. They are yet to be called an underdog in any of this season games, so it’s very clear that the market has been overvaluing them. Even in San Antonio, when the opening price clearly gave value on the home side, the market was still investing on the Thunder. They are 2-7 against the West, but still believed to be third- or fourth-best in the conference. They are better on the defensive side, where Adams, George, and Roberson provide them elite level. It resulted in 5-10 O/U record, and 2-6 on the road.
The Pelicans didn’t come close to covering in any of the last three games, so their success to open this month was short-lived. They are now a mediocre 9-7 against the spread, and 3-4 at home. On the totals side, they’ve been fairly unpredictable, with no streaks to help us out. New Orleans is 8-8 overall and 3-4 at home against the over/under.
Admi-Rank: The Thunder lost but this was on par what was expected, so it’s not hurting their rating. The Pelicans were also supposed to lose, but the fashion they’ve done it and their poor body language is affecting their rating. The gap between the sides is clear but it would be significantly larger had Davis not be cleared.
Oklahoma City is believed to have all the talent in the world, but that won’t win them games in the NBA against the best teams. Luckily for them, the New Orleans Pelicans are nowhere near the best teams even when fully loaded. The Thunder have the length to matchup with Cousins and Davis, and are also quite happy to launch threes when given enough space (and when they not), so this is a perfect matchup for them.
Oklahoma City is favored to win again, by 2.5 points as the market opens. It’s quite obvious that they have been overrated, but the same applies to the Pelicans. The fair number here is 4.5 points, so don’t be afraid to take the jolly here. On the totals market, where the line has been set to 214.5, there’s absolutely no interest in either side. Skip it.
My Pick: Oklahoma City -2.5 (-110)
Total: (no wager on the total points)
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