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In addition to notching a win, Pelicans should aim to get slumping JJ Redick going versus Thunder

Two beatable opponents remain on the home stand before New Orleans embarks on a difficult 7-game road trip

New Orleans Pelicans v Oklahoma City Thunder Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images

Following the tough loss to the Pacers — a winnable game that slipped through their fingers, the Pelicans will look to bounce back against the Thunder on Wednesday night at the Smoothie King Center.

In their largest margin of victory to date, New Orleans destroyed OKC by a 113-80 score on New Year’s Eve. Seven Pelicans scored in double figures, with Brandon Ingram’s 20 points leading the way. If you may recall, Ingram also only lasted 26 minutes as he was thrown out following a Flagrant 2 foul on Isaiah Roby.

Early this season, the Thunder have proven to possess the league’s worst offense (99.2 offensive rating — 30th). No team has struggled to hit their outside shot more than OKC (31.4 3PT% — 30th) and their free throw shooting is abysmal, too (68.8 FT% — 29th). Toss in a high turnover percentage (16.9 TOV% — 28th) and it’s clear to see why the Thunder are barely average over 100 points per game (100.5 PPG — 30th).

As to where the Pelicans have two 20+ point scorers in Brandon Ingram (25.0 PPG) and Zion Williamson (20.3 PPG), the Thunder don’t boast a single one, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (18.7 PPG) and Luguentz Dort (14.2 PPG) leading the way for OKC.

However, the Pelicans must avoid looking past the Thunder. Following a 118-107 win in OKC, the Magic dropped a 108-99 contest less than a week later to the Thunder in Orlando. While OKC lacks an intimidating roster, they’re still an NBA team that’s capable of getting hot and pulling off the upset.

It’s honestly important for New Orleans to not drop another winnable game on this home stand. Following tonight’s contest, the Pelicans will welcome the Charlotte Hornets Friday before then heading out on a grueling 7-game road trip against the Western Conference. Matchups against the Mavericks, Lakers, Clippers and two in Utah versus the Jazz could fast put a huge dent in the W/L record.

Thus, in addition to finding a path to victory versus the Thunder, it would behoove the Pelicans to help JJ Redick snap out of his frigid shooting slump.

While they’re fast proving capable of leading the team, Ingram and Zion are going to need reliable support against the best in the West soon. Having Redick firing on all cylinders during a testing road trip could mean the difference between an additional surprise win or two.

Sindarius Thornwell will miss tonight’s contest. Per the official New Orleans injury report, the reserve guard/forward has been ruled out (health and safety protocols). For the Thunder, they will be without Trevor Ariza (not with team), Ty Jerome (left ankle sprain) and Aleksej Pokusevski (concussion protocols).

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (4-3) vs OKC Thunder (2-4)

When: January 6, 7:00 p.m. Central

Where to watch: FSNO

Where to listen: ESPN 100.3 FM

For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @OlehKosel.