The NBA heads into the All-Star weekend with a pair of games this Thursday, and you can still get in on the fantasy basketball action by jumping into the single-game Showdown for either contest. In this post, we’ll focus on the Pelicans hosting the Thunder in what should be an entertaining matchup.
The Thunder currently hold the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference while the Pelicans are getting their first look at how good Zion Williamson ($9,800) can be, as they try and climb into the race for the playoffs. They start the night five behind Memphis for the No. 8 seed. This will be the fourth and final meeting of the season for these two teams, and the Thunder have gotten the win in each of the first three. However, this is the first time they’ll have to deal with Zion, so the Pelicans will look to flip the script and avoid a series sweep. Check out some possible game scripts, betting trends and prop bets below along with how I think the game will ultimately play out and how you can build your lineup for Thursday’s single-game Showdown contests.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
SHOWDOWN CAPTAIN’S PICKS
Set your lineups here: NBA Showdown $20K Excellent 8’s [$5K to 1st]
FIVE BETTING TRENDS
— The Thunder have won four of their last five games against the Pelicans.
— The Thunder have covered the spread in each of their last 12 road games.
— Eight of the Pelicans’ last nine home games against Western Conference opponents have gone OVER the total points line.
— Steven Adams has scored the first basket in each of their last four appearances against the Pelicans.
— Danilo Gallinari has scored 23-plus points in each of their last four appearances at Smoothie King Center.
Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
The big question mark for the Pelicans’ rotation in this contest is the availability of Brandon Ingram ($9,200; ankle), who missed the past two games and will be a game-time decision. He was able to go through shooting drills and player development work on Wednesday, but the team could play it safe. With Ingram selected to make his All-Star debut on Sunday, make sure to check his status since he gets lots of usage when active, and had over 48 DKFP in each of his past two games before suffering his ankle sprain in Chicago. If Ingram is out, Josh Hart ($7,600) will likely get another start, although his salary has already been adjusted, so there’s no great chance at a cheap value.
With Ingram out, Williamson stepped up Tuesday against the Trail Blazers for a career-high 31 points to go with nine boards, five assists and 50.75 DKFP in just 28 minutes. If Ingram is out again, Williamson will get more work and look to remain extremely efficient while piling up production.
In the first game Ingram missed, Williamson was also sidelined, leaving the spotlight for Jrue Holiday ($9,400), who stepped up with 31 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and 61 DKFP. He followed that up with another double-double Tuesday, totaling 45 DKFP with 16 points and 10 assists. If Ingram is out, Holiday is actually an even safer play than Williamson and has looked excellent since returning from an elbow injury that sidelined him in January.
While he hasn’t had the eye-popping totals of Holiday or Zion over the past few games, Lonzo Ball ($8,800) has been a steady producer. His scoring fluctuates from night to night but he consistently provides good non-scoring numbers and has 30-plus DKFP in eight straight, averaging 10.8 points, 8.6 assists, 7.4 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 1.0 blocked shots and 37.2 DKFP.
Coming off the bench, JJ Redick ($5,600) can offer some salary relief. He has at least 10 points in 37 of his last 40 appearances but sometimes doesn’t fill in many other categories. He has had at least 18 points and 27 DKFP in each of his three most recent contests while helping to fill in for some of the injured Pelicans.
Nicolo Melli ($5,200) has also filled a nice role in the second unit with at least 21 DKFP in four straight games with multiple three-pointers made in each contest. If you have to go even cheaper, Frank Jackson ($3,800) has played over 20 minutes in each of the past two games with 16.5 and 24.0 DKFP. You could even take a flier on Jaxon Hayes ($1,200), who is almost always productive when he gets playing time but is firmly behind Derrick Favors ($6,800) now that the veteran is healthy.
New Orleans has won three straight and seems to be gathering momentum now that the Pelicans are getting healthy. They’re definitely a fun team to watch, and they typically pile up the points. The Pelicans have at least 123 points in eight of their last eight wins while they have lost the four games during that stretch in which they’ve scored under that mark. The young team plays with tempo and will need to hit some outside shots and keep the pace up to beat the Thunder.
ThunderChris Paul ($9,200) played the first six seasons of his career in New Orleans and will return for the second time this season. He didn’t have great numbers in his first three meetings with the Pelicans but has been playing very well lately with at least 20 points and at least 38 DKFP in three of his past four games. Ball and Holiday will have a hard time shutting him down, but he is an expensive option to build around.
In the previous matchups between these teams, it has been Danilo Gallinari ($7,200) who has had the bigger offensive games, producing 37.75 DKFP and 44.75 DKFP in their two most recent meetings. Gallo struggled from the field, shooting just 4-of-16, in his most recent game, but he still managed to post 32 DKFP, giving him at least that many in six of his past eight contests.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($8,400) has also been a steady option and continued to grow as a huge part of Oklahoma City’s future. Over his past 10 contests, SGA is producing 18.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.6 blocked shots and 37.6 DKFP. He lit up the Pelicans for 42 DKFP in their first meeting but only had 18.25 DKFP and 33.25 DKFP in their two most recent contests. Given his current form, though, he’s my favorite top-tier OKC option to build around based on his more affordable salary the CP3.
In the middle, Steven Adams ($7,000) continues to be a solid source of rebounding but remains a volatile option since his scoring is often limited. Dennis Schroder ($8,000) also has some upside but is volatile from game-to-game depending on his fluctuating role and who has the hot hand.
The only real injury the Thunder have coming into this matchup is Darius Bazley (knee), who is out for 4-to-6 weeks with a knee bruise. With Bazley out, Luguentz Dort ($2,200), Abdel Nader ($1,400) and Terrance Ferguson ($1,800) should get some extra minutes. Nader is probably the best option of that bunch for fantasy purposes but none of them are really involved enough to be much more than a punt play. Nerlens Noel ($3,000) is the best option coming off the Thunder bench but has seen his playing time dip over the past few weeks. He only played eight minutes against the Spurs on Tuesday and didn’t attempt a single shot. Before that, though, he had at least 12 DKFP in 20 straight appearances.
Oklahoma City had won four straight before dropping back-to-back home gainst against the Celtics and Spurs. The Thunder will look to avoid a three-game slide going into the break by turning things around in New Orleans. They’ll have a tough time with the surging Pelicans, though, especially if Ingram can play. The Thunder will need their three guards and Gallo to carry the offense since they don’t have a ton of depth.
THE OUTCOMEThe Pelicans have become almost must-watch programming since Zion returned and the young, high-scoring team could be close to full strength if Ingram can return. I think it will be a high-scoring game and ultimately I’m not sure the Thunder can keep up, especially on the road in their final game before the All-Star break. My favorite Captain’s Pick is Holiday ($14,100 CP) especially if he’s running the offense with a limited or sidelined Ingram. You could also build a solid roster around Gilgeous-Alexander ($12,600 CP) or Gallinari ($10,800 CP) if you want to go with an Oklahoma City option. If you’re looking for more balance, you could even go with Melli ($7,800 CP) or Redick ($8,400 CP) and fill your flex spots with stars.
Final Score: New Orleans 127, Oklahoma City 120
Set your lineups here: NBA Showdown $20K Excellent 8’s [$5K to 1st]
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