The Pelicans have had a terrific start to the season and currently sit in 5th place in the stacked West.
On the other hand, the OKC Thunder have struggled during this campaign and are currently placed at 13, nearly at the bottom of the Conference.
With the Pelicans pushing for a playoff berth and the OKC Thunder trying to build chemistry within their young and re-tooled roster, this could be an exciting fixture.
Fixture: OKC Thunder vs New Orleans Pelicans - NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Wednesday, 6th January 2020 - 8:00 PM ET (Thursday, 7th January 2020 - 6:30 AM IST)
Venue: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA
OKC Thunder Preview
The OKC Thunder have not had a good start to the campaign and will be desperate to get more wins under their belt. The team currently have a 2-4 record and need to get closer to .500 before the defeats begin to pile up.
On the bright side, Luguentz Dort's improvement on the offensive end has surprised many. The 21-year-old has increased his production and efficiency from behind the arc dramatically, shooting 45.2% from deep from the season.
However, for the team to get better, veterans in George Hill and Al Horford will have to step up and perform at the level they are capable of.
On the injury front, Trevor Ariza and Ty Jerome have been ruled out of this game, while Aleksej Pokusevski is unlikely to feature for the OKC Thunder against the Pelicans.
Key Player - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander hasn't played at the level many thought he would this season, but he has still been the OKC Thunder's best player.
The 22-year-old is currently averaging 18.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 6.3 assists, shooting 43% from the field. He has also taken strides on the defensive end and is becoming a reliable team defender.
OKC Thunder Predicted Lineup
G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G George Hill, F Luguentz Dort, F Darius Bazley, C Al Horford
New Orleans Pelicans Preview
The New Orleans Pelicans have been flying high this season and are making a very strong push for a place in the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
The team has looked solid on both ends of the floor and has given some of the bigger teams a scare during their matchups.
The health and performances of Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart have certainly helped the franchise's case. The young trio has shown improvement from last year as well as more consistency.
As far as injuries are concerned, only Wenyen Gabriel is expected to be absent, while Sindarius Thornwell may not feature against the OKC Thunder.
Key Player - Brandon Ingram
Brandon Ingram has been on a tear for the New Orleans Pelicans and is undoubtedly their best player at the moment.
The 23-year-old has averaged 25 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 5.7 assists, shooting 44.8% from the field and 38.6% from behind the arc.
He has also stepped up on the defensive end, where his length and frame make him a constant nuisance for opponents. Last season's Most Improved Player award winner is one to watch out for in this fixture.
New Orleans Pelicans Predicted Lineup
G Lonzo Ball, G Eric Bledsoe, F Brandon Ingram, F Zion Williamson, C Steven Adams
OKC Thunder vs New Orleans Pelicans Match Prediction
If both teams play to their potential, this game could go either way. But while the New Orleans Pelicans have been firing on both ends of the floor, the OKC Thunder have been struggling to find form.
The New Orleans Pelicans boast more talent on their roster and go into this game as clear favorites.
Where to watch OKC Thunder vs New Orleans Pelicans
Published 05 Jan 2021, 20:23 IST