Game Preview: Pelicans vs. Thunder - April 14, 2014
With only two games remaining in the 2013-14 regular season, the New Orleans Pelicans will try to head into the offseason on a strong note, but that’s no easy task given their opposition this week. Starting with Monday’s home tilt against the Oklahoma City Thunder, both of the Pelicans’ opponents are teams that have an excellent chance of advancing deep in the Western Conference playoffs (New Orleans hosts Houston on Wednesday).
Behind a historic individual performance by Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City again is one of the West’s elite teams. The Thunder appear headed for the No. 2 seed, holding a two-game lead on the third-place Los Angeles Clippers. Oklahoma City’s dynamic point guard, Durant sidekick Russell Westbrook, has been sidelined by injury for a large chunk of 2013-14, but Durant has more than picked up the slack. Durant scored 25 or more points in 41 consecutive games, a streak that ended recently in a blowout win over Sacramento.
Oklahoma City is 2-0 vs. New Orleans this season, including a 116-94 victory on Friday in the Sooner State.
The Pelicans will try to add more impressive victories to their 2013-14 resume this week, after recently defeating several premier opponents in March. During a home-heavy stretch of the schedule last month, New Orleans notched wins vs. two-time defending NBA champion Miami and two of the league’s hottest teams, Brooklyn and the Los Angeles Clippers.