Pelicans missing key pieces ahead of matchup with OKC Thunder

Larry Nance Jr. #22 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)
Larry Nance Jr. #22 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder are set to play their first postseason game in two years. The New Orleans Pelicans will host the OKC Thunder in the NBA Play-In Tournament at 8:30 Central on ESPN. The Pelicans represent the ninth seed in the conference, a seed that has never suffered a loss to a tenth seed in the tournament’s history.

While the OKC Thunder will look to make history, the injury reports shook out prior to tip-off leaves some key pieces out of this postseason matchup.

The New Orleans Pelicans will be missing some key pieces ahead of their matchup with the OKC Thunder in the NBA Play-In Tournament.

With Tip-off just hours away, each team has filed their injury report. For the Oklahoma City Thunder, things are a bit more cut and dry. Chet Holmgren (Foot) and Kenrich Williams (Wrist) are each tabbed as out for the season, and that remains for this contest.

Aleksej Pokusevski is out tonight in New Orleans as he still nurses a knee contusion, which is unrelated to his leg injury suffered back in December. For the OKC Thunder, they will also miss two-way players Olivier Sarr and Jared Butler, as two-way pacts are not eligible for postseason play.

For the New Orleans Pelicans, their star player Zion Williamson remains out with a hamstring injury. The Pelicans will also be down Jose Alvarado, who has started on-court activities but is not ready for game action yet.  In addition, EJ Liddell is also out as he rehabs an ACL injury.

Perhaps the most significant blow to Willie Green’s squad, just due to the surprising nature of it, is Larry Nance Jr being downgraded to out after initially being listed as questionable with left ankle soreness.

This is a blow to the Pelicans, who sometimes like to mix it up and use Nance Jr as a small-ball five. Especially if starting big man Jonas Valanclunas gets into early foul trouble; this injury can change the complexity of this game.

Next. Biggest X-Factors in this play-in game. dark