The New Orleans Pelicans had a strong second half of their season to climb their way back into playoff contention. Injuries to their top players have derailed any momentum built, but the Pelicans still have a chance to make the playoff. That starts tonight with a win vs the Oklahoma City Thunder. Tonight, veteran PF Larry Nance Jr. is questionable to play due to left ankle soreness.
Zion Williamson (hamstring) and Jose Alvarado (leg) are both out tonight for the Pelicans. They ended the season strong going 7-3 in their last ten games and landed one of four spots in the West’s play-in tournament. Standing in their way tonight is all-star PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and a young Thunder squad.
NBA betting sites have the Pelicans at (-210) to win vs OKC tonight.
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) April 11, 2023
Larry Nance Jr. is questionable to play tonight due to left ankle soreness
Nance Jr. played his first full season with the Pelicans this year after being traded to New Orleans mid-season in 2021-22. He played in 65 games and made one start, averaging (6.8) points, (5.4) rebounds, and (1.8) assists per game. This is the most games he’s played in a season since 2018-19 when he was still with Cleveland.
The Pelicans went 3-1 in their four-game season series vs their Western Conference foe. Three of those four games were decided by four points or less and all three of the close wins were by New Orleans. Oklahoma City won their most recent meeting on 3/11 when they took a 110-96 loss on the road.
On paper, the Pelicans are the better team, but the Thunder have been a scrappy team this season. They are led by first-time all-star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who was one of six players to average over 30+ points per game this season. He played in 68 games and averaged (31.4) points per game in the regular season. He’ll need to carry his team to a win tonight vs a Pelicans team that has some savvy veterans.
Source: Basketball Insider