The New Orleans Pelicans are finally in the win column and look to turn it into a two-game winning streak against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The New Orleans Pelicans started the 2019 season with a 0-4 record but kept it from going to 0-5 with a win over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday. This was a much-needed win for the Pelicans, who could not capture the momentum of going 5-0 in the preseason.
We saw close to the best version of the Pelicans that we are going to get this season. The Pelicans pushed the pace and played with a tempo that led to 37 fastbreak points opposed to the Nuggets’ 20.
The team can get better, as Zion Williamson is going to be a huge improvement once he returns, but this kind of game is the best game of game the Pelicans can play. They will simply get more lethal once Zion is back on the court.
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The Pelicans have a much easier task on Saturday as they take on another team that only has one win, the Oklahoma City Thunder. While the Thunder also have a 1-4 record, they are a tougher team than people expected heading into the season.
OKC notched a huge win over the Golden State Warriors for their lone win and have lost three of their four losses by a small margin against a playoff-caliber team. The Utah Jazz beat them by five, the Houston Rockets by four and the Portland Trailblazers by three.
The Thunder are also home for this game, which may make them the 1-4 team with the upper edge. That is at least how oddsmakers are perceiving it.
The Thunder enter this game as three-point favorites over the Pelicans, courtesy of the Action Network.
This is understandable with both teams being 1-4 and the Thunder having the home-court advantage. While the Thunder has played well so far, they are not as talented as the Pelicans and this is a good chance to jump on something before the oddsmakers catch on.
The Pelicans are too fast and have too many scorers for the Thunder to overcome. They have a good defensive backcourt that is going to limit Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and should be able to overpower what the Thunder has to offer.
The best part of this is that the Pelicans are getting three points in this game. Even if New Orleans loses this game, it is hard to see them losing by four or more to the Thunder.
I should mention that my record against the spread with the New Orleans Pelicans this season is 2-3, so maybe my advice isn’t the best.