Game Preview: Pelicans vs. Thunder - December 6, 2013
In the only matchup between these two Western Conference clubs prior to mid-April, the New Orleans Pelicans host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday, seeking a victory against one of the NBA’s premier teams. New Orleans would like nothing more than to enter the weekend and an unusually long break between games with a win over Oklahoma City, one of the league’s fastest-starting clubs. The Thunder began the 2013-14 regular season with 13 victories in their first 16 outings, including an eight-game winning streak.
Despite trading away supersub James Harden in 2012 and losing his replacement, Kevin Martin, during free agency of the past offseason, Oklahoma City has barely skipped a beat so far. The Thunder have already compiled victories against just about every formidable Western Conference rival, including San Antonio, Golden State and the Clippers.
The Thunder continue to be spearheaded by the potent scoring duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Durant led the NBA in scoring average for three consecutive seasons, prior to Carmelo Anthony wresting away that title last season.
In a scheduling detail many NBA teams would consider a fortuitous break, New Orleans only plays Oklahoma City three times this season instead of the usual four. The Thunder and Pelicans won’t meet again until April 11, when New Orleans pays its only visit of 2013-14 to the Sooner State. Three days later, the Pelicans will host the Thunder in NOLA’s second-to-last game of the regular season.
Jrue Holiday vs. Russell Westbrook