Expert Cappers Picks
National Basketball Association
Preview
Oklahoma City at New Orleans
When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Where: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana

The Oklahoma City Thunder own the best winning percentage in the Western Conference after recovering from a 0-4 start. The Thunder look to post their 18th win in the past 22 games when they visit the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday.

Oklahoma City star point guard Russell Westbrook has only been the second-best player on his own team thus far as small forward Paul George has been superb, the latest example being a 31-point outing in a 122-113 win over the Utah Jazz on Monday despite having just 10 field-goal attempts. "Real balanced, under control, took open shots, knocked them down and played at his own pace," Westbrook told reporters after George made eight of those shots and went 5-of-6 from 3-point range. "He's aggressive when he plays at his pace. He gets any shot he wants and can score on anybody in this league." New Orleans has its own star in power forward Anthony Davis and he scored 41 points on Monday but the Pelicans dropped a 113-100 decision to the Boston Celtics. "We got another one on Wednesday against a team that's hot right now, OKC," Davis told reporters. "But we play well at home so hopefully can get that one, then we have like three or four days off where we can regroup and recollect ourselves and try to put a string of wins together."

TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN, FS Oklahoma, FS New Orleans

ABOUT THE THUNDER (17-8): George was receiving MVP chants during his latest performance, which came two games after he scored a season-best 47 points against the Brooklyn Nets. "I'm going to just play hard," George told reporters. "If that happens at the end of the year, then so be it. That's the least of my concerns. Right now, I'm enjoying playing with this group. We've got a special group here. We want to win. We want to win big." Westbrook recorded his third straight triple-double - and 110th of his career - against Utah with 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists despite suffering through a 4-of-18 shooting night.

ABOUT THE PELICANS (14-15): Davis has recorded four 40-point efforts this season - all coming in the past 3 1/2 weeks - as he attempts to set the tone for a team that has battled consistency issues this season. "I know the team follows me," Davis told reporters. "I'm the leader and I've got to be the one to make sure that we're ready to play every night. So for me, I just go out there and play with this team and go out there and try to have fun and get wins." Forward Julius Randle had 20 points and 11 rebounds against Boston and is averaging 27.6 points and 11.2 rebounds over the past five games.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. The Thunder recorded a 122-116 home win over the Pelicans on Nov. 5, when they limited Davis (20 points) to 7-of-20 shooting.

2. Oklahoma City C Steven Adams topped 20 points in three of the past four games and is averaging 19.8 points during the stretch.

3. New Orleans F Nikola Mirotic (ankle) is doubtful after being injured in Monday's game, while SG E'Twaun Moore (leg) will likely miss his second straight game.

PREDICTION: Thunder 108, Pelicans 104
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Oklahoma City 17-8 W1 10-3 7-5 0-0 17-8 1-1 8-6
New Orleans 14-15 L1 10-4 4-11 2-0 12-15 3-2 7-9
Last Meeting
Oklahoma City New Orleans
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
11/5/18 NO 116 OKC 122 122 41 48.4 116 45 48.8
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Oklahoma City P. George 23 35.3 7
New Orleans J. Randle 26 100.0 4
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Oklahoma City S. Adams 8 3 5
New Orleans N. Mirotic 16 2 14
Assists Player  
Oklahoma City R. Westbrook 9
New Orleans J. Holiday 14
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Oklahoma City P. George 679 43.1 136
New Orleans A. Davis 766 50.2 195
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Oklahoma City S. Adams 278 139 139
New Orleans A. Davis 343 91 252
Assists Player  
Oklahoma City R. Westbrook 173
New Orleans J. Holiday 274
Quickchart Matchup
Oklahoma City Oklahoma City Off vs  New Orleans New Orleans Defense
Oklahoma City Off vs New Orleans - Points For 111.6 Points For
Oklahoma City Off vs New Orleans - Points Against 115.6 Points Against
Oklahoma City - FG% 45.3 FG%
New Orleans - FG% 46.7 FG%
Oklahoma City - Reb 48.9 Reb
New Orleans - Reb 43.8 Reb
New Orleans New Orleans Off vs  Oklahoma City Oklahoma City Defense
New Orleans Off vs Oklahoma City - Points For 117.4 Points For
New Orleans Off vs Oklahoma City - Points Against 104.7 Points Against
New Orleans - FG% 48.1 FG%
Oklahoma City - FG% 44.6 FG%
New Orleans - Reb 47.4 Reb
Oklahoma City - Reb 43.7 Reb