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Somber Pelicans travel to Oklahoma to face the equally melancholy Thunder

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Don't be surprised if today's basketball game comes secondary to all the participants.

Kevin D. Liles-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans eked out a win last night against the Utah Jazz, but the minds of the players were largely elsewhere throughout the entire evening. If you haven't heard by now, the wife of the former head coach of the Pelicans, Monty Williams, was suddenly taken from this earth in a tragic car accident on Wednesday.

Coincidentally, Williams is now an assistant coach with the Thunder, the Pelicans opponent on Thursday. Upon arrival in Oklahoma City in the wee hours of the morning, most, if not all of the players were preoccupied about their former coach. Before leaving New Orleans, a group that included Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday had mentioned they hoped to get a chance see their former coach, hug him and offer any and all undying support.

However, the Pelicans will not be the only members with heavy hearts. Since the devastating news broke, the entire association has rallied around one of the best figures in the NBA, including the Oklahoma City Thunder. Kevin Durant and Anthony Morrow spoke, or one could say attempted to, on the terrible situation in their shootaround this morning.

Yeah, there's going to be a game played tonight between the Pelicans and the Thunder because the schedule mandates it, but expect don't expect to see anywhere near the level of competitive fire that normally exists when these two teams step onto the court. Monty Williams has his fingerprints all over both teams -- the players will be sure to have him and his family at the forefront of all their thoughts and prayers.

The basketball game that will be shown tonight on TNT is going to be treated as a requirement for all tied to the responsibility of their occupations. Someone will still win, but at this moment in time, who really gives a shit about the X's and O's? One of the classiest men in the NBA just lost his best friend and the mother of his 5 children.