NBA Odds – New Orleans Pelicans at Oklahoma City Thunder Game Preview
By Steven Wisner of North Shore Sports, INC
Why spend hours handicapping NBA odds when you can read everything you need to know about every game here at BookMaker Sportsbook. We break down trends, line movements, injuries and more in our betting previews so you can cash your bet! The New Orleans Pelicans and Oklahoma City Thunder game is scheduled for Thursday, February 11, 2015, at 8 p.m. ET at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The contest will be broadcast nationally on TNT.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook return home leading the powerful Thunder offense into action against Anthony Davis and the Pelicans looking to close the first half out on a high.
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The schedule favors the Thunder on Thursday.
Not only does Oklahoma City get to play at home which is huge for a team that’s just 7-17 ATS on the road, but they’re also coming off plenty of rest with their last game on Monday when they beat Phoenix 122-106.
On the other side of the court, the Pelicans will head to Oklahoma City for Thursday’s game having squared off against Utah in the Big Easy the night before. The last time the Pelicans played without a day off, they lost to the Lakers of all teams at home, and grossly failed to cover the 9.5-point closing pointspread.
Shooting guards Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon are both sidelined as is Quincy Pondexter. New Orleans has been playing without Pondexter all season, but Evans and Gordon are the Pelicans’ top two guards based on PPG. Evans is also the team leader in assists and steals while ranking fourth in rebounds with 5.2 per game.
Against a talented Thunder team, the Pelicans were already undermanned and now they’re even more shorthanded.
The injury report for Oklahoma City is far shorter with just guard Andre Roberson sitting out with a sprained right knee. The team’s won six of the seven games he’s missed as he’s nothing more than a reasonable guard off the bench.
To keep this game close, the Pelicans will need to find answers for Durant and Westbrook.
Kevin Durant is the team’s leading scorer with 27.8 PPG and is tied with James Harden for second in the NBA in scoring. Westbrook is just behind him, ranked No. 7 in the NBA with 24.1 PPG. No other team in the league can boast two top seven scorers.
As a team, Oklahoma City ranks second on offense with 109.9 PPG as they are shooting 47.6 percent from the floor and are nabbing 47.7 RPG.
While not quite to the level of Durant, Pelicans’ star forward Anthony Davis comes close to his OKC counterpart. He’s ranked No. 8 in the league in scoring with 23.5 PPG and averages 10.2 RPG compared to Durant’s eight.
If the Pelicans are to log this upset—or even cover the spread—their bigger challenge may be finding an answer for containing Westbrook. With Evans and Gordon out, New Orleans is already out their best players in the backcourt. It’ll be up to Jrue Holiday and Norris Cole to pick up the slack.
Cole is averaging only 9.9 PPG, but over his last 10 games, he’s averaging 13.7 PPG and that’s even with a meager two point, 13 minute outing included. With that game removed, the average jumps to 15 PPG.
At 14.7 PPG, Holiday was also a strong scorer, but he’s seen a bump in his production, too. He’s got 5.4 APG this season. Over his last nine games, he’s scoring 19.8 PPG and is coming off a 27-point showing. His assists are up to 7.1 per game in that same span.
The Pelicans’ offense is pretty strong and they’ve got a handful of quality players, but there’s just not quite enough there after Anthony Davis.
Look for New Orleans to score thanks to an above-average offense; Davis, Holiday and Ryan Anderson combined for 70-points in their last game. Still, look for this to turn into a shootout and it’s hard to beat the Thunder in a shootout.
Oklahoma City’s second best offense should have plenty of success against a Pelicans’ defense allowing 104.9 PPG and a shooting percentage north of 46.0. Add in the stark difference in rebounds—aside from Davis—and it shouldn’t be hard for a well-rested Oklahoma City to tally this win at home.
After all, they’ve already beaten the Pelicans 110-103 earlier this season.
Oklahoma City 117, New Orleans 105