Preview: Williamson, Pelicans set for matchup against the Thunder


New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) shoots over Oklahoma City Thunder forward Darius Bazley (7) during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Derick Hingle)

OKLAHOMA CITY — New Orleans Pelicans (27-35, 11th in the Western Conference) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (21-41, 13th in the Western Conference)

Oklahoma City; Thursday, 9 p.m. EDT

FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK LINE: Pelicans -8.5; over/under is 229.5

BOTTOM LINE: Zion Williamson leads New Orleans into a matchup against Oklahoma City. He’s eighth in the NBA scoring 26.8 points per game.

The Thunder are 11-22 against Western Conference opponents. Oklahoma City is 8-26 when opponents win the rebound battle and averages 45.4 rebounds per game.

The Pelicans are 15-19 in conference matchups. New Orleans is fifth in the NBA with 35.4 defensive rebounds per game led by Josh Hart averaging 6.9.

The two teams matchup for the third time this season. The Thunder defeated the Pelicans 111-110 in their last matchup on Jan. 6. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led Oklahoma City with 21 points, and Williamson paced New Orleans scoring 29 points.

TOP PERFORMERS: Luguentz Dort leads the Thunder averaging 2.2 made 3-pointers, and is scoring 14.2 points per game while shooting 34.7% from beyond the arc. Darius Bazley is averaging 18.8 points and 7.2 rebounds while shooting 45.7% over the last 10 games for Oklahoma City.

Lonzo Ball leads the Pelicans averaging 3.0 made 3-pointers while scoring 14.2 points per game and shooting 38.2% from beyond the arc. Williamson is shooting 61.9% and averaging 28.1 points over the last 10 games for New Orleans.

LAST 10 GAMES: Thunder: 1-9, averaging 104.9 points, 47.9 rebounds, 21 assists, 7.8 steals and 3.9 blocks per game while shooting 44.6% from the field. Their opponents have averaged 119.8 points on 46.9% shooting.

Pelicans: 4-6, averaging 117 points, 48.7 rebounds, 26.7 assists, 8.2 steals and four blocks per game while shooting 49.5% from the field. Their opponents have averaged 113.5 points on 45.7% shooting.

INJURIES: Thunder: Gabriel Deck: day to day (not with team), Josh Hall: day to day (knee), Mike Muscala: out (ankle), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: out (foot).

Pelicans: Nickeil Alexander-Walker: out (ankle), Steven Adams: day to day (toe), Josh Hart: out (thumb).

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