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Game 49: No AD, Niko or ‘Twaun as Pelicans tackle George’s Thunder

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Russell Westbrook still might be the face of OKC but Paul George has been the more notable performer this season. Do the Pelicans stand a chance?

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans face a stiff test tonight against the Oklahoma City Thunder without three key members of the core: Anthony Davis, Nikola Mirotic and E’Twaun Moore.

After winding up on the short end of a 98-94 affair to the Detroit Pistons Wednesday evening, Alvin Gentry is left scrambling for healthy and positive contributors against a team that has won three straight and sits third in the Western Conference standings.

Jrue Holiday will step up and we can expect Julius Randle and Jahlil Okafor to have an impact down low, but where else will the points come from?

Elfrid Payton has been in a funk of late (6.6 points, 36.8 FG%) and Darius Miller (6.4 points, 35.7 FG%) hasn’t shot the ball any better than the Pelicans starting point guard over the last five games. As for the rest of the group, only Frank Jackson has seen action in each of the last five games.

Can New Orleans get a surprise performance out of Tim Frazier, Ian Clark, Solomon Hill and/or Cheick Diallo?

The answer is hopefully; otherwise, it’s difficult to see the Pelicans scoring enough to keep up with Russell Westbrook, Paul George and company.

For more on this matchup, please read Chris Conner’s Outsider’s Perspective!

Geaux Pels!

Where To Watch

What: New Orleans Pelicans (22-26) at Oklahoma City Thunder (29-)

Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, OKC, OK

When: Thursday January 24, 2018, 7:00 p.m. Central

How: FSNO, 99.5 FM WRNO

Spread: +11.5