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Pelicans vs. Thunder 2024 NBA Playoffs Odds & Game 2 Preview

By Hank Blaine

Even without injured All-Star Zion Williamson, the New Orleans Pelicans put a huge scare into Western Conference top-seeded Oklahoma City in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series, but the Thunder squeaked by. Game 2 is Wednesday back in OKC and Williamson remains out.

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Oklahoma City Thunder 2024 NBA Playoffs Game 2 Info

Why bet on the New Orleans Pelicans?

After appearing to pull away in the third quarter, the Thunder largely shut down offensively in the fourth. They went on a stretch without making a field goal for more than five full minutes, and the Pelicans took full advantage. The Pelicans mounted a dominant 18-6 run over that stretch to erase a double-digit deficit and jump back in front after playing a step behind for much of the second half.

“Those are the moments when you’ve got a chance to close the door on them, and we didn’t do that,” McCollum said. He finished with 20 points but just 2-for-9 from deep, along with six assists and three boards. McCollum didn’t have his best shooting display Sunday, an issue that has been plaguing him for weeks. He also executed poorly in the final play of the game, where the Pelicans could’ve gone for a tie or a win.

After Gilgeous-Alexander tied the score at 90 with 1:36 to go, the Pelicans’ ensuing possession featured four shot attempts and three offensive rebounds — but no points. The most disturbing part of that four-shot sequence was that the worst look came from Ingram, who rushed into an ill-timed fade away 3-pointer with nine seconds left on the shot clock and 1:07 remaining in the game. Sunday was the first time Ingram has scored less than 18 points in a playoff game, and his three assists were tied for his lowest tally.

“It just wasn’t consistent enough for me. I’ve gotta be more in control of the game,” Ingram said after the loss. “I’ve got to make good plays, no matter the physicality or not. I’ve got to be there for my teammates.”

Trey Murphy added 21 points while starting for the injured Zion Williamson. Murphy extended his streak of games scoring in double figures to 14 appearances (12 starts), and he ended up as New Orleans’ leading scorer in Game 1 loss while carrying the team at times in the second and third quarters. Center Jonas Valanciunas had 13 points and 20 rebounds. Forward Herb Jones struggled, shooting 2-of-10 from the field and finishing with eight points, seven rebounds and four assists.

Why bet on the Oklahoma City Thunder?

The Thunder took Game 1 by a score of 94-92 in the playoff debut for most Oklahoma City players. Entering the playoffs, the Thunder were the youngest NBA team to secure a No. 1 seed since seeding began in 1984. Seven of the 11 Thunder players who took the floor Sunday night were competing in their first playoff game. The inexperience showed itself at times in the fourth quarter, but the team also came through when it most needed to.

Star and MVP finalist Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 28 points, including the go-ahead basket in the final minute. SGA looked a bit off at times and wasn’t as dominant as he’s been in previous games, but the star floor general came through when the team needed him the most. An off-balance shot in the dying stages of the fourth quarter would be the game-winner. He was just 11-for-24 from the field but added six rebounds and four assists. The 94 points were the fewest the Thunder have scored in a win all season.

“When I make a mistake or miss a shot, I’m upset probably for about 10 or 15 seconds, and then it’s the next possession,” Gilgeous-Alexander explained. “If you want to win, you have to do so. You have to move on. And there’s so many possessions late in the game when it slows down that if you let the previous possession distract you, you’ll let the game slip. And I just tried not to do so.”

Jalen Williams added 19 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals. It was his best scoring performance since March 31, when he scored 33 points in a win over the Knicks just before missing four contests with an ankle injury. Rookie Chet Holmgren ended with 15 points, 11 boards and five blocks.

Oklahoma City’s defense was truly the story and led by Lu Dort, OKC hounded and harassed Pels star Brandon Ingram all night. He finished with a playoff career-low 12 points on 5-of-17 shooting. Dort didn’t just slow him down. He effectively shut Ingram down. Only one of Ingram’s field goals came with Dort as his primary defender — and it came in transition, on Ingram’s go-ahead layup with 3:34 remaining.

“He was on it. He was really on it, especially early,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said of Dort. “I thought (on) catches, he got him off his spots. Really disruptive. We shifted him to (CJ) McCollum at different times as well.” Oklahoma City held New Orleans to 38.5% shooting, and the Pelicans went just 1-of-15 on corner 3-pointers.

Pelicans vs. Thunder Betting Trends

  • New Orleans is 1-4 ATS in the last 5 games on the road.
  • Pelicans are 6-3 SU in its last 9 games.
  • The total went over in 5 of Indiana’s last 6 games.
  • Oklahoma City is 4-8 ATS in the last 12 games.
  • Thunder are 4-8 SU in its last 12 games.
  • The total went over in 8 of Milwaukee’s last 11 games against Indiana.

Pelicans vs. Thunder 2024 NBA Playoffs Game 2 Prediction

The Pelicans takes the win on Wednesday night and leads the series heading into Game 3 on Saturday.

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*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.

READ MORE: Thunder vs. Pelicans 2024 NBA Playoffs Odds & Game 3 Preview