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OKC Thunder vs New Orleans Pelicans Playoff Preview

The Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Pelicans are set to clash in the opening contest of a seven-game series, with the Thunder holding home-court advantage. The Pelicans will be without Zion Williamson for at least the first four games due to injury, but they are still a formidable opponent looking for revenge after being eliminated by the Thunder in last year’s Play-In Tournament.

One key factor to watch in this series is the pace of play. The Thunder play at a much faster pace than the Pelicans, but New Orleans is known for its efficiency on offense. The team that can dictate the pace of play may have an advantage in this series.

Individual defensive assignments will also play a crucial role, with the Pelicans boasting a top-tier defense led by standout defenders like Herb Jones. Slowing down Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will be a priority for New Orleans, but the Thunder have other weapons like Jalen Williams and Josh Giddey to step up.

The battle of centers will be another key matchup to watch, with Jonas Valanciunas providing a traditional, physical presence for the Pelicans while the Thunder rely on Chet Holmgren’s versatility. The Thunder will need to find a way to neutralize Valanciunas’s impact in the paint to gain an advantage.

Perimeter shooting will also be critical, as both teams finished the regular season as efficient 3-point shooting squads. Both teams will look to capitalize on their shooting prowess from beyond the arc, with 3-point efficiency likely playing a significant role in determining the outcome of this series.

Overall, expect a competitive and closely contested series between the Thunder and Pelicans, with both teams looking to advance to the next round of the playoffs. The winner will face off against either the LA Clippers or Dallas Mavericks in the next round. Stay tuned for what promises to be an exciting playoff series between these two Western Conference foes.

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