New Orleans ranks fifth in points in the paint and attempts the eighth-most free throws per game. That bodes well for their chances of covering tonight considering the Thunder allow the ninth-most points in the paint in the league. If the Pelicans are going to cover as road underdogs tonight, they’re going to need Brandon Ingram to continue his strong play. After missing a significant portion of the season due to an injury, Ingram is now firing on all cylinders. Over his last four games, Ingram has averaged 29 PPG, 6. 8 APG, and 5. 0 RPG while shooting 54% from the floor.
He continues to get better and better and has noticeably been on fire from beyond the arc. The career-36% three-point shooter is shooting 40% from deep this season on 3. 8 attempts per game. Look for BI to have another big night against a Thunder defense that ranks in the bottom 10 in points allowed. In recent games, former first-round pick Trey Murphy III has really stepped up. He’s taken on a much bigger role this season with New Orleans’ various injuries and has proven he belongs in the NBA. Over his last five games, Murphy averaged 18. 6 PPG including 3. 2 threes per game while shooting 47% from beyond the arc. The sharpshooter has drained multiple threes in four consecutive games and he’ll have a good chance to make that five against a Thunder defense allowing the ninth-most threes per game.
Why The Thunder Could Cover The SpreadOklahoma City has proven to be one of the brightest young teams in the NBA thanks to their outperforming of preseason expectations. The Thunder are firmly in the mix to make the play-in game thanks to their explosive offense. Oklahoma City averages 117. 9 PPG – third-most in the NBA. They are especially attuned to attacking the basket and getting easy buckets as they average the fourth-most points in the paint per game. Additionally, the Thunder play at the third-fastest pace in the league and are therefore relentlessly attacking opposing defenses as they average the most shot attempts per game. The Thunder are led by All-Star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.