The New Orleans Pelicans expect to get star Anthony Davis back on Monday, just in time to help fix a defense that was rolled over in consecutive losses. The Pelicans surrendered an average of 135.5 points in those two games and will try to tighten things up when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.
Davis left in the opening minute of the third quarter on Friday at Denver after taking a shoulder to the face from Nuggets center Nikola Jokic and was originally diagnosed with a concussion before clearing that diagnosis on Sunday and being diagnosed with a bruise of the orbital bone above his right eye. Davis, who is averaging two blocks and 1.5 steals to go with 25.1 points and 11 rebounds, is probable for Monday’s game. The Thunder had a three-game winning streak come to an end with a 104-101 loss at San Antonio on Friday and are still trying to find some consistency with Paul George and Carmelo Anthony on the roster with reigning MVP Russell Westbrook. Anthony was the only one of the three to shoot 50 percent or better from the floor in Friday’s setback.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Oklahoma, FSN New Orleans
ABOUT THE THUNDER (7-8): Westbrook is doing the most adjusting in an effort to make the transition more comfortable for Anthony and George, but he is struggling with his shooting in the meantime. Westbrook, who averaged 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists last season, is putting up 19.9 points, 9.5 assists and 8.2 boards so far in 2017-18. He went 5-of-22 from the floor in Friday’s setback and shot 33.3 percent or worse from the floor in four of his last six games.
ABOUT THE PELICANS (8-8): New Orleans allowed the most points in an NBA game this season in Friday’s 146-114 loss at Denver, and coach Alvin Gentry had no trouble getting on his team about the performance. “It sucked. It sucked. It sucked,” Gentry told reporters. “That’s my thoughts on the game. We didn’t do anything right, and everything was terrible, coaching included. It was an embarrassment. We embarrassed our franchise, and that includes everyone.” The Pelicans allowed the Nuggets to shoot 62.9 percent from the field in the loss and are 24th in the NBA in field-goal percentage defense on the season at 46.6 percent.
1. George is 16-of-33 from 3-point range over the last four games.
2. Pelicans SG Tony Allen (knee) is expected to return from a four-game absence on Monday.
3. Oklahoma City took all four meetings last season and six of the last seven.
PREDICTION: Pelicans 120, Thunder 113