Top Home Games of 2013-14: No. 10 vs. OKC
Friday, Dec. 6, 7 p.m.
Other 2013-14 games between these two teams
Friday, April 11, New Orleans at Oklahoma City
Monday, April 14, Oklahoma City at New Orleans
Why it’s on the list
Oklahoma City stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are the NBA’s highest-scoring duo, with both ranking in the top six in points per game last season. In many ways, the Thunder are what the Pelicans aspire to be in the future – a talented young team that’s a force to be reckoned with in the Western Conference.
Due to the NBA’s rotating intraconference schedule, the Pelicans play the team that finished with the West’s best record only three times in 2013-14, instead of four. This early December game will be the only meeting with OKC over the Pelicans’ first 78 games, prior to facing the Thunder in Game 79 and 81 during the final week. New Orleans also caught a bit of a break in that it only plays once at Oklahoma City, which boasts one of the NBA’s loudest and most hostile arenas.
It’s uncertain how New Orleans will try to defend Durant; forward Al-Farouq Aminu has often drawn the assignment. Westbrook likely will be matched up against new Pelicans starting point guard Jrue Holiday, in a meeting of All-Stars.
What’s new in Oklahoma City
On one of the NBA’s elite teams for several years, the Thunder simply don’t have much room for new players to carve out a rotation spot. Oklahoma City drafted lottery pick Steven Adams, along with three other prospects, but none of them are certain to be key components in 2013-14. Seven-year NBA combo forward Ryan Gomes was signed in August, but his role is also uncertain. Perhaps the best news of the offseason for OKC was that Westbrook is reportedly likely to be ready for training camp after sustaining a season-ending knee injury during the 2013 playoffs.