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New Orleans 22 32 36 24 114
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6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST6:00 UAE (+1)03:0021:00 ET8:00 PM CTNaN:� , February 2, 2018
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma  Attendance: 18,203

Pelicans bolster lineup before meeting with Thunder

According to STATS
According to STATS

New Orleans Pelicans at Oklahoma City Thunder

  1. The Pelicans snapped their overall four-game losing streak in this series when they defeated the Thunder 114-107 in New Orleans on November 20. However, Oklahoma City has won its last four home contests in this series.
  2. New Orleans had 36 rebounds in its loss to Sacramento on Tuesday. The Pelicans are 24-14 when they pull down 40+ boards, but just 3-9 when they grab fewer than 40.
  3. Oklahoma City is outrebounding its opponents by an average of 5.2 boards per game in its home contests this season. That is the third-best rebounding margin in the league.
  4. Anthony Davis had 36 points and 15 rebounds in the Pelicans' November 20 win over Oklahoma City; it was his third 30/10 performance in his last five games in this series.
  5. Paul George had a season-high 43 points and went 19-for-26 (.731) from the floor in Thursday's loss to the Nuggets. It was the first time in 2017-18 that the Thunder lost a game in which George scored 30 or more points (7-1). In fact, dating back to last season, George's team had won its last 10 regular-season games when he had 30+ points
  6. Russell Westbrook has four triple-doubles in his last five games versus the Pelicans, including a 22-point, 16-rebound, 12-assist performance on November 20. Westbrook is coming off a 20-point, 21-assist performance against the Nuggets on Thursday; the 21 assists were a season high, and one shy of his career high (22 vs Pho, December 17, 2016).

OKLAHOMA CITY -- When DeMarcus Cousins' season ended with a torn Achilles tendon suffered in the final seconds of the New Orleans Pelicans' Jan. 26 victory over the Houston Rockets, their chances of making the playoffs for the first time in three seasons appeared over.

But the Pelicans made a move to preserve their relevance -- and keep financial flexibility in their pursuit of Cousins in free agency -- Thursday, the day before going on the road to face the Oklahoma City Thunder.

New Orleans acquired forward Nikola Mirotic and a second-round pick from the Chicago Bulls for high-priced center Omer Asik and guards Jameer Nelson and Tony Allen as well as a first-round pick.

Mirotic is a similar player to Cousins -- a big man with 3-point range. In 25 games since returning from two broken bones in his face from a fight with Bulls teammate Bobby Portis, Mirotic is averaging 16.8 points and 6.4 rebounds. Both would be career highs if he continues that level of production.

The Pelicans might not be done as they try to stay in the playoff picture in the aftermath of the season-ending injury to DeMarcus Cousins.

New Orleans is reportedly making a strong push for veteran big man Greg Monroe.

Monroe recently was bought out by the Phoenix Suns and the possibility of significant playing time for his hometown team looms.

He would give the Pelicans another piece to replace Cousins' rebounding abilities.

New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry wouldn't talk about Monroe specifically but said improved rebounding was going to have to be a team-wide focus after the Pelicans were outrebounded by 13 in Tuesday's loss to Sacramento.

"It's not going to be one guy that's going to step in and get the almost 13 rebounds a game that DeMarcus got for us," Gentry said. "But I think we can have our guards and our perimeter players are going to have to get in the fight ... and help A.D. (Anthony Davis) and the bigs with some rebounding."

While New Orleans made its move Thursday, Oklahoma City is still trying to grasp the fallout of losing a key piece of its own.

Thursday night in Denver, the Thunder lost for the second consecutive game to go to 1-2 since defensive stopper Andre Roberson was lost for the season to a ruptured patellar tendon.

While their defense improved in the fourth quarter of that game before Gary Harris' 3-pointer at the buzzer gave the Nuggets a 127-124 victory, Oklahoma City allowed 72 first-half points.

"We didn't do a good enough job, just running back in transition, closing out to them, closing out short and not running them off the line," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "Then we didn't really control where the ball went in the first half."

Rookie guard Terrance Ferguson had replaced Roberson in the starting lineup but left Thursday's game after just more than four minutes on the floor because of illness. His status for Friday's game is unclear.

Updated February 2, 2018

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