Pelicans vs Thunder Prediction NBA Play-In Games Picks 4/12

Pelicans vs Thunder Prediction NBA Play-In Games Picks 4/12

© Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

 

Game Preview: Thunder vs Pelicans - NBA Play-In Game

On April 12, 2023, the Oklahoma City Thunder will take on the New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA Play-In Tournament. The winner of this game will advance to play for the eighth seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. The Pelicans come into this game with a record of 42-40, while the Thunder are 40-42. Both teams have had some success in the Western Conference this season with the Pelicans ranking ninth and the Thunder ranking tenth. However, the Pelicans have been the stronger team lately, winning seven of their last ten games. The Thunder have won four of their last ten. According to NBA picks experts and predictions, the Pelicans are favored to win this game, with a spread of -5. The over/under for the game is 228. The Pelicans are led by Zion Williamson, who is averaging 19.1 points per game and is one of the top players in the league. The Thunder have Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is averaging 22.0 points and 3.5 rebounds over his last ten games. Both teams have dealt with some injuries this season, but the Pelicans will be without Zion Williamson due to a hamstring injury. The Thunder have several players listed as day-to-day, including Luguentz Dort and Aleksej Pokusevski. Overall, this should be a competitive game with both teams fighting for a spot in the playoffs. NBA picks and parlays experts are leaning towards the Pelicans, but anything can happen in the NBA Play-In Tournament.

 

Thunder: Offensive Analysis

The Oklahoma City Thunder's offense has been one of the bright spots of their season, averaging 117.5 points per game, which ranks fifth in the league. However, their offensive efficiency has not been impressive, ranking 24th in effective field goal percentage at just 53.1%. The Thunder rely heavily on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is averaging 22.0 points per game and 3.9 fastbreak points per game, leading the team in both categories. Jalen Williams has also been a solid contributor, putting up 14.1 points per game, but their offensive success will heavily depend on the performance of their supporting cast. The Pelicans, who rank ninth in the league with 53.3 points in the paint per game, could pose a challenge for the Thunder, who allow 50.6 points in the paint per game, the 16th highest in the league. However, the Thunder have done a good job of limiting their opponents' fastbreak opportunities, allowing just 11.9 fastbreak points per game, the second-lowest in the league. Overall, the Thunder's offense will need to be efficient and well-balanced to compete with the Pelicans in the play-in tournament. NBA picks experts and NBA picks computers may give the edge to the Pelicans, but with a strong offensive performance, the Thunder could be a surprise pick to advance.

Thunder: Defensive Analysis

The Oklahoma City Thunder will need to bring their defensive A-game when they take on the New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA Playoffs Play-In Tournament. The winner will advance to play for the eighth seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. Despite being ranked 19th in the league in defense, allowing 116.4 points per game, the Thunder have some bright spots on that end of the floor. They rank seventh in the Western Conference with 14.6 fast break points per game, led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who averages 3.9 of those points. Additionally, they are fourth in the conference in steals per game with 8.2, thanks in part to Luguentz Dort who averages 1.6 steals per game. However, the Thunder will need to step up their interior defense as they allow opponents to score 50.6 points in the paint per game, which ranks 16th in the league. They will need to slow down Zion Williamson, who averages 19.1 points in the paint per game for the Pelicans. The Thunder's defense will also need to find a way to slow down Brandon Ingram, who has been on fire recently, averaging 29.0 points over the last 10 games for the Pelicans. The Thunder will likely rely on Dort to handle the defensive assignment against Ingram, as he has shown a knack for shutting down some of the league's top scorers this season. In terms of injuries, the Thunder will be without Chet Holmgren who is out for the season with a foot injury. It is anticipated that Luguentz Dort will be day-to-day with a shoulder injury, while Aleksej Pokusevski will also be day-to-day with a knee injury. In conclusion, the Thunder's defense will need to bring their best effort to contain Williamson and Ingram and to limit their opponents' points in the paint. While the Thunder's defense may not be an intimidating force, they have the potential to create turnovers and disrupt their opponents' game plan. The AI predicts that the Pelicans will win this game by five points, but the Thunder may surprise basketball experts, NBA picks computers, and NBA picks and parlays if their defense can step up to the challenge.

 

Pelicans: Offense Analysis

The New Orleans Pelicans have been playing outstanding basketball lately, winning seven of their last ten games and averaging 117.0 points per game. They rank ninth in the league with 53.3 points in the paint led by Zion Williamson's average of 19.1. However, it's important to note that Williamson will be out for this game due to a hamstring injury, which could have a significant impact on the Pelicans' offense. Brandon Ingram has been picking up the slack, averaging 29.0 points over the last ten games, but they will need other players to step up in Williamson's absence. Fortunately for the Pelicans, they have Jonas Valanciunas shooting 54.7% and averaging 14.1 points. Valanciunas could be a key player in the paint, especially with the Thunder's weakness in defending against inside scoring. The Thunder, on the other hand, are averaging 116.4 points per game and are led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's average of 22.0 points and 3.5 rebounds over the last ten games. Oklahoma City ranks seventh in the Western Conference with 14.6 fast break points per game. In terms of shooting, both teams are relatively similar, with the Pelicans shooting 49.0% from the field and the Thunder shooting 45.4%. However, the Pelicans have a better shooting efficiency at 1.154 compared to the Thunder's 1.132. Overall, the Pelicans will need to find ways to compensate for Williamson's absence and maintain their strong offensive performance. If they can do so, they have a good chance of winning this game and advancing in the NBA Playoffs Play-In Tournament.

Pelicans: Defensive Analysis

The Pelicans will need to bring their A-game on defense if they hope to win in their upcoming game against the Thunder. Let's take a closer look at their defensive stats and how they can utilize their strengths against their opponents. Currently, the Pelicans rank ninth in the league in points allowed per game with an average of 112.5. Moreover, they are ranked 12th in total rebounds per game and fifth in steals per game. Brandon Ingram is their top defender, averaging 1.0 steals per game. They will face the Thunder, who rank in the top half of the league in scoring offense, averaging 117.5 points per game. Their offense is led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who averages 22.0 points and 3.5 rebounds over the last 10 games. However, the Thunder's three-point shooting is not a particular strength, with a 35.8% success rate which ranks them 15th in the league. The Pelicans can try to take advantage of this by focusing on perimeter defense and forcing their opponents to take low percentage shots. Another key factor in this game will be the Pelicans' rebounding. Oklahoma City is averaging 51.5 total rebounds per game, so it will be crucial for the Pelicans to limit their second chance opportunities to be successful. All in all, the Pelicans have the potential to be a formidable defensive force in this game. If they can capitalize on their strengths and limit their weaknesses, they have a good chance of coming out victorious.

 

Injury Report

The Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Pelicans will face each other in the NBA Playoffs Play-In Tournament, with the winner advancing to play for the eighth seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. However, both teams have key players missing due to injury. For the Pelicans, E.J. Liddell is out with a knee injury, while Zion Williamson is out with a hamstring injury. Jose Alvarado is also out with a tibia injury. Meanwhile, the Thunder are dealing with several injuries themselves. Luguentz Dort is day-to-day with a shoulder injury, while Chet Holmgren is out for the season with a foot injury. Aleksej Pokusevski is day-to-day with a knee injury, and Kenrich Williams is out for the season with a wrist injury. Jaylin Williams and Jalen Williams are both day-to-day with back and wrist injuries, respectively. Both teams will need to rely on their depth and players stepping up to fill the void left by their injured stars. 

Player Team Position Injury Status
E.J. Liddell New Orleans Pelicans F Out (knee)
Zion Williamson New Orleans Pelicans PF Out (hamstring)
Jose Alvarado New Orleans Pelicans PG Out (tibia)
Luguentz Dort Oklahoma City Thunder G Day to day (shoulder)
Chet Holmgren Oklahoma City Thunder PF Out for season (foot)
Aleksej Pokusevski Oklahoma City Thunder F Day to day (knee)
Kenrich Williams Oklahoma City Thunder SF Out for season (wrist)
Jaylin Williams Oklahoma City Thunder F Day to day (back)
Jalen Williams Oklahoma City Thunder F Day to day (wrist)

 

Betting Trends Analysis

In this play-in game between the Pelicans and the Thunder, the betting trends show that the Pelicans are favored by 5 points and the over/under is set at 228 points. The Pelicans have a 7-3 record in their last 10 games and are averaging 117.0 points per game, while the Thunder have a 4-6 record and are averaging 116.4 points per game. According to expert picks and computer predictions, the Pelicans have a higher chance of winning this game due to their recent performance and home-court advantage. Additionally, the Pelicans have a higher ranking in the Western Conference and a better record in conference games compared to the Thunder. However, it's important to consider the injuries of some key players for both teams, including Zion Williamson for the Pelicans and Luguentz Dort for the Thunder. These injuries may affect the overall performance of both teams and the outcome of the game. In terms of betting trends and predictions, the Pelicans seem to have the advantage in this game. However, it's always important to consider all factors and risks before placing any bets on this game, especially with the unpredictable nature of the NBA playoffs.

 

Prediction

In this crucial play-in game, the New Orleans Pelicans have the edge over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Despite missing Zion Williamson and Jose Alvarado to injuries, the Pelicans still have a formidable lineup led by All-Star Brandon Ingram and efficient scorer Jonas Valanciunas. Additionally, the Pelicans have been playing exceptional basketball lately with a 7-3 record in their last 10 games and ranking ninth in the league in points in the paint. On the other hand, the Thunder have been struggling with a 4-6 record in their last 10 games and ranking 19th in the league in points allowed. While Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Williams are capable scorers for the Thunder, it won't be enough to overcome the Pelicans' depth and efficiency on both ends of the court. The Pelicans will cover the spread and win the game to earn a spot in the next round of the play-in tournament.

 

Pick: Pelicans (-5.5) 

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