Thunder Look For Third-Straight Win Against New-Look Pelicans

Sunday, February 26th 2017, 3:48 pm
By: Brett Coppenbarger

The Thunder look to extend its winning streak to three games on Sunday night when the Pelicans come to town for a Western Conference clash at 6 p.m.

Related: Thunder Pick Up Big Win Over Lakers Behind Russell Westbrook's 28th Triple-Double

Here are a few things to know about the matchup:

New-look Pelicans

Most Thunder fans thought they’d get to see former Sooner Buddy Hield inside of Chesapeake Energy Arena tonight when OKC hosts New Orleans, but the Pels surprised everyone over the All-Star break by shipping off Hield, Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway (and a pick) to the Kings for DeMarcus Cousins.

Not only is Cousins one of the best post players in the NBA, but he is now slotted next to another top 10 talent in Anthony Davis. Many basketball fans are excited to see how Boogie and AD will blossom next to each other and the highly touted duo has already taken on the nickname “Fire and Ice”.

While most teams in the league are shooting more 3-pointers and spacing the floor, it looks like the Pelicans are going the old-fashioned route by attempting to dominate the paint. With two elite seven footers in Cousins and Davis, look for both guys to get the ball early and often against the Thunder. There’s no doubt that Steven Adams, Enes Kanter, Taj Gibson and Domantas Sabonis will all have their hands full trying to slow them down.

Bumpy road so far

Good things take time, and the same applies to the new Pelicans’ roster. Despite all the hype following the trade, New Orleans has fallen to both the Rockets and Mavericks coming out of the break and neither outcome has been all that close.

Unfortunately for the Pelicans, they don’t have too much time to get it together. They currently sit at the No. 12 spot in the Western Conference standings, and are 3.5 games back from the Nuggets in the No. 8 spot.

Seeing the Pelicans played on Saturday night in Dallas, things won’t get much easier on Sunday when they play an improving Thunder team.

OKC ready for playoff push

While it did come against the lottery-bound Lakers, the Thunder looked great on Friday night in its first game following the All-Star break. OKC won 110-93 and Westbrook picked up his 28th triple-double of the season in the process.

Not only did Westbrook look good, but the rest of the Thunder roster did as well. Enes Kanter returned from his 10-game absence, and new additions, Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott, both seemed to fit in nicely with OKC’s style of play.

Victor Oladipo may sit out for the second consecutive game with back spasms, but Alex Abrines is coming off his best game of the season and should fill in nicely if Oladipo is forced to sit out again.