New Orleans Pelicans vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Free NBA Picks February 6, 2015

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Oklahoma City pulled to within one game of New Orleans for ninth invest the Western Conference standings with an exciting come-from-behind victory on the Pelicans Wednesday night. They’ll look to draw even with the Pelicans’ slate if they square off yet again this coming Friday at the Thunder’s home arena in this Free NBA Picks matchup.

NBA Basketball Picks FridayNew Orleans had their two-game winning streak snapped Wednesday after succumbing to Oklahoma City in a showdown at Smoothie King Center. It had been a negative shooting night for the Pelicans, particularly in the 2nd half, where they shot a miserable 14 of 46 from the field for a measly 30.4 percent clip.

Fortunately for the Pelicans, they are able to get revenge immediately if they face the Thunder on the road inside their next game. They have to make several adjustments, though, if they’re avoid a second consecutive defeat to the 2013 Western Conference champions.

First, the Pelicans need certainly to impose their size in the paint. Although Anthony Davis scored 23 points and hauled down eight rebounds, he was badly outplayed by Serge Ibaka down the stretch. The 7-foot star scored every one of his 13 points in the 2nd half as he dominated Davis in the latter stages of the game.

In fact, the Pelicans were outscored by the Thunder, 66-46, in the paint. Defending the shaded area has been a continuous problem for the Pelicans this season. They’re third-worst in the league in points allowed in the paint, conceding on average 45.7 points per game in the shaded area.

The onus is on Davis and Omer Asik to man up against the Thunder big men. They combined for only 15 boards inside their game against Oklahoma City. That’s way below their combined season average of 20.6 RPG. Controlling the boards contrary to the Thunder is going to be easier said than done, however, as Thunder first in the league in rebounding this season, averaging 46.6 boards per game.

The Pelicans are 3-2 inside their last five games on the road.

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No Kevin Durant? No problem.

The Oklahoma City Thunder ignored the absence of the reigning Most Valuable Player, scoring 13 unanswered points in the last 5 minutes to eke out a 102-91 win contrary to the Pelicans.

Russell Westbrook led the way for the Thunder, as he tied his career a lot of 45 points on 18-of-31 shooting from the field. He ignited Oklahoma City’s quick start, scoring a career-best 19 points in the very first quarter alone. It has been a fantastic couple of games for the 26-year-old who also recorded a triple-double in his previous outing contrary to the Orlando Magic.

The Thunder have taken advantage of Westbrook’s inspired play, winning their last two games by on average nine points. This comes at a vital time for the Thunder who entered this stretch having lost four of these previous five games.

For Oklahoma City to gather another win, they should step it on the defensive end once again. They held the Pelicans to just 38.6 percent shooting from the field, which is way below New Orleans’ season average of 45.5 FG%.

Key for their defensive success against New Orleans was the play of Serge Ibaka. Ibaka was a force for the Thunder in the shaded area, registering an overall total of six blocks contrary to the Pelicans. Ibaka is fourth in the league in blocks this season, averaging 2.15 rejections per game. Oklahoma City, as a group, recorded an overall total of 10 blocks against New Orleans which is way above their season average of 6.0 BPG. NBA Basketball Picks Oklahoma City wins and covers the Spread.

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