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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander showed exactly why he's an MVP finalist after hitting the go-ahead bucket in Game 1's win against the Pelicans. Even as New Orleans looked like it could steal the win away from OKC, Gilgeous-Alexander just casually got off one of the most difficult shots you'll see to put the Thunder up by two points with just over 30 seconds left in the game. It gave him 28 points on the night, and now the Thunder have a chance to go up 2-0 in the series before it heads south to New Orleans.

For the Pelicans, as valiant an effort as Game 1 was from them, especially without Zion Williamson, OKC showed why its the No. 1 team in the West down the stretch of that game. It was a squandered opportunity to put the pressure on the Thunder in this series, but it also showed that perhaps the Pelicans have a better shot in this matchup than people predicted.

As we prepare for Game 2 of this Thunder and Pelicans matchup, here's what you need to know.

Thunder vs. Pelicans Game 2

  • Date: Wednesday, April 24 | Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: Paycom Center -- Oklahoma City
  • TV channel: TNT | Live stream: TNT app
  • Odds: Thunder -7.5; O/U 211.5


Thunder: Game 1 showed that perhaps the Thunder won't be able to walk all over the Pelicans. And while that's not typical for a 1/8 matchup, it'll serve as a good test for the young OKC team in the postseason. SGA delivered, so did Jalen Williams, and Chet Holmgren had a positive postseason debut with 15 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks and two assists, but the glaring weakness here is Josh Giddey. All season long, Giddey has been the outlier in OKC's starting lineup. Sure, he gives the Thunder an additional ball handler next to SGA in the backcourt, but his inability to be an efficient jump shooter seriously hinders the Thunder. That could be an area the Pelicans exploit going forward, which could lead to the Australian guard getting moved to the bench.

Pelicans: Brandon Ingram has a poor showing and New Orleans still almost won that game. That should be seen as a bit of a positive as long as Ingram is able to get things going in Game 2. That should be the priority for Wednesday night's game, getting Ingram going early, because if he starts knocking down his shots, it'll open things up for New Orleans offensively. Trey Murphy III and CJ McCollum carried the load in Game 1, but they need Ingram to also pull up a chair to the table if the Pelicans want to even up this series.


The Pelicans put up a great fight, and this may be a bit more balanced series even with Williamson sidelined, but I'm going with the Thunder to take a 2-0 lead. I do think it'll be another close contest, but I think, ultimately, OKC is just so good in high-pressure situations that they'll pull out another win. The Pick: Thunder -7.5