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Thunder vs. Pelicans TV channel, live stream, how to watch NBA playoffs online, game time, odds

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A year ago, the Thunder and Pelicans faced one another on relatively even footing. The two young Western Conference foes battled in the No. 9 vs. No. 10 Play-In game, and Oklahoma City came out ahead, 123-118. In the year since then, New Orleans has found itself in a relatively similar position. Instead of fighting for a spot in the Play-In, the Pelicans have indeed reached the playoffs as the No. 8 seed.

But the Thunder? They’ve grown up quite a bit more. Oklahoma City just became the youngest No. 1 seed in NBA history, and the Thunder will have a major advantage in this game thanks to the absence of Zion Williamson. The Pelicans are used to playing without their All-Star. Doing so as an underdog against a 57-win team is another matter entirely.

So can New Orleans come up with a strategy to survive Williamson’s absence? Or will the Thunder take control of this series at home? Here’s everything you need to know about Thunder vs. Pelicans.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. New Orleans Pelicans

  • Date: Sunday, April 21 | Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: Paycom Center — Oklahoma City
  • TV channel: TNT
  • Odds: Thunder -8.5; O/U 214.5

Storylines

Thunder: Chet Holmgren has never played a playoff game. Jalen Williams has never played a playoff game. Josh Giddey has never played a playoff game. Cason Wallace has never played a playoff game. Mark Daigneault has never coached a playoff game. There are benefits to youth, but the inexperience here is significant. The Pelicans have not only reached the playoff stage, but done so (and competed against a former Finals team in the 2022 Phoenix Suns) without Williamson. The Thunder will adjust to the postseason pressure. Will it be in Game 1? Or will it take time?

Pelicans: The Pelicans had no problem filling in for Williamson against the Kings on Friday. They did so through their remarkable depth, as six different Pelicans scored in double-figures. That’s all well and good against Sacramento, but the Thunder are another matter. Who’s going to step up and be the star against Oklahoma City? Is Brandon Ingram healthy enough to do so? Can Jonas Valanciunas bully the younger, skinner Holmgren? Will Trey Murphy break out as a starter? Someone has to do it. If Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the only All-NBA-caliber player in this series, the Pelicans will lose it.

Prediction

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard an Oklahoma City playoff crowd. If you need to remember what one sounds like, just stick an airhorn inside a megaphone and place it right next to your eardrum. That crowd is going to power the young Thunder through any growing pains, and Oklahoma City will take Game 1. The Pick: Thunder -8.5

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