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Pelicans-Thunder: Herb Jones vs Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Act II

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at New Orleans Pelicans Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Before any Christmas Day festivities can be enjoyed, the New Orleans Pelicans have one more item of business to attend to: facing the Thunder in Oklahoma City on the second night of a back-to-back.

The Pelicans have won just once in three tries with no days rest in between games thus far this season, a 124-110 victory over the Bulls in Chicago on Nov. 16.

In addition to that hurdle, the Thunder are legitimate competition. They’ve won three straight games and sit only two games out of the Western Conference play-in tournament seeding. And they’re led by one of the most explosive guards in the league.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander nearly propelled the Thunder to win in their last meeting with the Pelicans. His 31-point performance wasn’t the most efficient one around though, largely thanks to Herb Jones.

Herb was directly responsible for Shai missing seven of nine field goal attempts, while also forcing him into four turnovers as well.

The Pelicans hope to see a similar performance, especially with Zion Williamson (health and safety protocols) and Brandon Ingram (left great toe contusion) unavailable to buffer the offense.

Fortunately, New Orleans has a third star in CJ McCollum, who is in the midst of his best stretch of the season.

McCollum dropped 40 points against the San Antonio Spurs last night, helping the Pelicans snap a four-game losing streak.

Tune in at 7:00 p.m. to find out what transpires for a New Orleans team that sits only half game out of first in the West! Geaux Pels!!

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (19-12) at Oklahoma City Thunder (14-18)

When: December 23, 2022, 7:00 p.m. CT

Where to watch: Bally Sports New Orleans, League Pass

Where to listen: WRNO 99.5

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.