OKC Thunder seek to enter break on positive note: Pelicans preview

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OKC Thunder

OKC Thunder (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)

In the final game before the All-Star break, the OKC Thunder attempts to end a two-game losing skid when they meet the Pelicans. Gameday breaks it down.

The OKC Thunder are in a rare position, losing two straight games for the first time since mid-January when they lost to the Toronto Raptors on January 15th and the Miami Heat on January 17th. From there the Thunder went 9-1 until this little hiccup.

However, the last team they play before the All-Star break is the New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans are riding the back of nine incredible Zion Williamson games. The first pick in last year’s draft has shown why he was so coveted.

He is averaging 21.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 0.8 steals in 27.0 minutes per game. It is not just the numbers of Williamson, it is the way that he scores them and energizes his team and the crowd. In his first game, Williamson struggled for the first half. Then he exploded for 15 points in less than four minutes. The crowd went wild over the way the star delivered.

In addition, Lonzo Ball has started to lead this team with a high level of play. He is averaging 11.8 points, 6.8 assists, 6.1 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. It’s similar to the style and type of play witnessed from the youngster when he was in college. The Pelicans are benefiting from the combination of these two factors and the wins are accumulating because of it.

The Pelicans leading scorer Brandon Ingram is listed as day by day with an ankle injury. With him in the line-up, the Pelicans are tough to beat. Without him,  Josh Hart gets more minutes which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since he’s an effort guy who also gives the Pelicans serviceable minutes. Either way the Pelicans are desperate to make the playoffs and this is another danger game for the Thunder.

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