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Game 20: Lonzo Ball returns, hopes to spark Pelicans to win over Thunder for first time this season and end miserable four-game losing streak

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NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Clippers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Things are pretty cut and dry at this point. The New Orleans Pelicans have been finding ways to lose to good and bad teams, and if this trend continues, the focus should entirely shift to player development as the playoffs will be out of the picture.

Typically, the Pelicans have been doomed by the slow start despite consistent production from Brandon Ingram and JJ Redick of late. At some point in the game though, a run gets the team back into the thick of things; however, poor performance in crunch time usually winds up with the last laugh. Surprisingly, as Preston writes, the offense in more to blame than the defense in the final five minutes of close games. That needs to change and fast.

Lonzo Ball is far from being confused as a renowned closer, but his return today — into the starting lineup no less — from a bout with a stomach virus could help change New Orleans fortunes. (Derrick Favors and Kenrich Williams are out.) Due to recent absence, Jrue Holiday has crossed into the 40-minute threshold the last two games, possibly contributing to his questionable execution to close out potential wins against the Lakers and Thunder.

Something’s gotta give for the Pelicans to end their losing streak at four games, right?

Geaux Pels!

Where To Watch/Listen

What: New Orleans Pelicans (6-13) at Oklahoma City Thunder (7-11)

Where: Smoothie King Center

When: Sunday, December 1, 2019 4:00 PM CDT.

How: FSNO