Oklahoma City Thunder (2-4) at New Orleans Pelicans (4-3)
Tip Off: 6:30pm CST
How To Watch: FSOK
The Thunder are coming into Wednesday’s game hoping to get revenge on the Pelicans, as they lost 80-113 in their first match up in the season. For the Thunder, they are coming off a major loss to the Miami Heat 90-118. The Pelicans also are coming off a 116-118 overtime loss vs. the Pacers. This game will be the Thunder’s third game of their five-game road stand.
The Thunder have three players listed as out for tonight:
Ty Jerome (ankle)
Trevor Ariza (personal)
Aleksej Pokusevski (concussion)
The Pelicans only have one player out in Sindarius Thornwell
What the Thunder Need to Fix
The vaguest category you can probably come up with in basketball, we are having big time issues with. The Thunder rank dead last in the NBA in scoring coming into this game, averaging 103.3 points. For reference, the second-worst scoring team in the NBA (New York Knicks) average 103.3 per game.
The primary issue with why we may be scoring so little is because we are also the worst 3-point shooting team in the league only connecting on 31.4% of our shots from distance. This low percentage mixed with the fact we jack up the 3rd most 3-pointers in the league (just under 42 shots) a night makes us so inefficient racking up points.
The Thunder rank 26th in the NBA at 22 assists a ball game. The lack of ball-movement and willingness to make extra passes contributes to the team’s low scoring numbers. Constant movement with the ball will be necessary from all of the Thunder players on the court to get the looks that we’d like.
3) Interior Defense
In the first Thunder-Pelicans matchup, the Pelicans tallied 54 points in the paint over the course of the game. This number however looks like nothing in comparison to the 72 the Thunder gave up in their first duel vs. the Magic.
All of the Thunder bigs will need to bring their a-game on defense for a shot in this game. Steven Adams is a gigantic task on his own to defend down low, but pair him with Zion Williamson and the task of defending inside seems almost too difficult. Points in bunches inside have come off of guards penetrating to the basket with relative ease, and with guards Lonzo Ball and Bledsoe, there is a lot of ground to cover inside.