2 main factors that will lead to Thunder winning Game 2 vs Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v Portland Trail Blazers
Oklahoma City Thunder v Portland Trail Blazers / Alika Jenner/GettyImages
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Limit second chance points 

Oklahoma City entered the postseason with serious rebounding questions, as they finished 27th in opponent offensive rebound rate during the regular season. The Pelicans brutally exploited this weakness in Game 1 by snagging a staggering 18 offensive boards, which led to them being +13 in second-chance points. 

Jonas Valanciunas, in particular, was a menace on the glass who routinely overpowered Holmgren. Therefore, it would behoove the Thunder to double him on box-outs and not leave Holmgren on an island. Plus, they must embrace the physicality and play with a nasty streak. 

Now, sending everyone to crash the boards definitely limits transition opportunities since there is no outlet on the wing to initiate the break. However, Oklahoma City was not seeing these chances anyway because of New Orleans’ constant stream of offensive rebounds, so it’s not as if they are significantly slashing their transition game with this strategy. 

Meanwhile, Daigneault could also respond by increasing Jaylin Williams and Kenrich Williams’ minutes. Both players provide desperately needed size and hustle to the lineup.

It may also be worth exploring trotting out a two-big lineup featuring Holmgren and Williams, for they possess the offensive versatility to make it work on that end while such a pairing allows Holmgren to roam as a help defender. 

Overall, the Thunder are likely to outscore New Orleans from a points-per-possession perspective. They just need to keep the possession battle relatively close.