GAME OF THE WEEK >> Rogers' 10* NBA! #1 NBA Play This Week!
Oklahoma City vs. New Orleans,
04/01/2018 18:00 EDT,
Score: 109 - 104
Point Spread: -1/-108 Oklahoma City
The set-up: The final day of the NBA's regular season is April 11th and seven teams are vying for five playoff spots in the Western Conference, separated by just three games from the 4th through 10th spots. The 44-33 OKC Thunder and the 43-33 New Orleans Pelicans square off Sunday, with both teams suffering through ill-timed three-game losing streaks.OKC currently owns the No. 6 seed but is just a half-game up on the Pelicans, who own the eighth and final playtoff spot. New Orleans holds a two-game edge on the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets, who are both currently on the outside looking in.
Oklahoma City: The Thunder saw their stars struggle in a 126-125 overtime loss to Denver at home on Friday, as Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George combined to shoot 25-of-65. OKC wasted their franchise-record 20 three-pointers, as the Thunder blew a six-point lead with 2:22 left in regulation and hurt themselves with missed foul shots and layups. "We just have to finish them," Westbrook told reporters after Friday's loss. "We did a good job of locking in when we needed to get stops. We just need to put the ball in the hole." OKC's three straight losses have come by a combined eight points and all were against West playoff hopefuls, making for a frustrating slide.
New Orleans: Anthony Davis struggled in scoring only16 points on 6-of-19 shooting in the 107-102 loss at Cleveland on Friday. However, Jrue Holiday continued his stellar play and kept New Orleans close while Davis struggled. He scored 25 points on 12-of-18 shooting after recording a triple-double against Portland on Tuesday. Rajon Rondo (wrist) returned from a two-game absence to hand out eight assists and Nikola Mirotic added 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting after producing a total of seven points on 2-of-13 over his previous two games.
The pick: After losing six of eight to Oklahoma City, the Pelicans have won both matchups against the Thunder this season. New Orleans defeated OKC 114-107 at home on Nov. 20 and 114-100 on the road on Feb. 2. However, the Pelicans ranked as high as the fourth seed in the Western Conference standings just 10 days ago but are now holding on precariously to the eighth and final playoff spot entering Sunday's contest against the Thunder. Oklahoma City is in a little better shape but the Thunder badly need a victory to solidify their playoff positioning. After this game with the Pelicans, OKC hosts Golden State and then visits Houston. OKC really needs this one and the optimism of the 4-2 record New Orleans put together during a marathon eight-day stretch is starting to 'melt away.' Make OKC a 10* play.