Thunder star Russell Westbrook pushes taunting fan on court

Westbrook

Westbrook

Oklahoma City is back on the court Friday night hosting the Pelicans. Denver led by as much as 20 on Thursday night, but an inspiring effort by the Thunder cut the lead to single digits. The Wizards had a rate of 10.5 (better than their season average of 12.5), while the Thunder posted a mark of 17.4 (above their season average of 12.1).

Denver is 2-6-1 ATS in its past nine games. Despite their most recent loss to Washington, the Thunder are winners of 8 out of their last 10 games.

With the remaining schedule, it was imperative the Nuggets got this win in order to stay a float in the Western Conference playoff picture. Oklahoma City has won five of the last seven meetings with New Orleans, but the Pelicans won the lone meeting this season at home, 114-107, on November 20. Which Oklahoma City team shows up may determine who covers in this spot, but expect Denver to play harder and be extra motivated to beat the number for the fourth consecutive time in this series. The Thunder have the type of big in Steven Adams who could be able to do a similar job of controlling the paint against the Pelicans. The Thunder still have the defending MVP Russell Westbrook on their side.

Don't mess with Russell Westbrook. The Thunder came in riding an eight-game winning streak, the longest active streak in the National Basketball Association, during which they averaged a +12.3 point differential. Their defense tightens up at home, allowing just 100.9 per game. The Pelicans are moving quickly to address this frontcourt problem. Will Barton missed last-second 3-point attempts in both games that would have given Denver a win each time. The Oklahoma City Thunder are allowing 35.6 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 44.9 rebounds per game. They'll look at it and figure it out. The Thunder won the most recent matchup 95-94, but did not cover as 5-point favorites. A Thunder starter didn't shoot a free throw until 3:25 in the third quarter, Denver determined to make Westbrook drive and kick.

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