Oklahoma City's Perimeter Play: The Key to Unlocking Victory Against New Orleans

WriterEthan Johnson

26 April 2024

Oklahoma City's Perimeter Play: The Key to Unlocking Victory Against New Orleans
  • Key takeaway one: Despite a tough defense, Oklahoma City can exploit the Pelicans' perimeter, especially targeting CJ McCollum.
  • Key takeaway two: Herb Jones and Trey Murphy present significant defensive challenges for the Thunder, but strategies exist to mitigate their impact.
  • Key takeaway three: Oklahoma City's success hinges on adjusting offensive strategies to capitalize on New Orleans' defensive vulnerabilities.

Oklahoma City faces a formidable opponent in Willie Green's New Orleans Pelicans, known for their robust defense capable of stifling the Thunder's key players. The opening game showcased the Pelicans' defensive prowess, with players like Herb Jones making life difficult for Oklahoma City's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander through exceptional agility and length. Despite these challenges, Gilgeous-Alexander managed to score close to his season average, though the team was held to just 94 points.

However, a glimmer of hope for the Thunder lies in exploiting New Orleans' perimeter defense. CJ McCollum, in particular, has struggled against agile players like Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Williams. Oklahoma City has found success in drawing McCollum as the main defender, where their shooting significantly improves. This strategic mismatch could be the key to igniting the Thunder's offense against the Pelicans.

Statistics from Pelicans Columbia highlight the stark contrast in Oklahoma City's shooting efficiency when McCollum guards their star players. The Thunder's ability to score nearly a third of their points against McCollum underscores a potential weak spot in the Pelicans' defense that Oklahoma City can exploit to their advantage.

Mark Daigneault's preference for ghost screen actions and guard-to-guard screens could further facilitate matchups against McCollum, potentially creating favorable conditions for the Thunder. The team's decisive last possession in the previous game, where Gilgeous-Alexander overcame McCollum's defense to secure a win, exemplifies the strategic advantage Oklahoma City can leverage.

As the series progresses, the Thunder's focus on exploiting the Pelicans' perimeter defense, particularly targeting McCollum, may prove to be a game-changer. Adjusting offensive strategies to capitalize on these vulnerabilities could be the spark Oklahoma City needs to overcome New Orleans' formidable defense.

Join the discussion and share your thoughts on Oklahoma City's strategies against the Pelicans. Like Inside the Thunder on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all the latest updates. Get to know the team behind the coverage and stay informed on Thunder news.

About the author
Ethan Johnson
Ethan Johnson

Ethan Johnson is a seasoned writer with a deep passion for American basketball. His engaging writing style and insightful analysis have made him a go-to source for NBA enthusiasts. Known for his witty commentary and in-depth coverage, Ethan brings a fresh perspective to the world of sports journalism.

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