New Orleans Pelicans: 3 matchups the Pels must dominate vs. Thunder

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on before playing the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on before playing the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Pelicans
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on before playing the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images) /

New Orleans Pelicans: Lonzo Ball needs to shut down Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Matchup #3: Lonzo Ball vs. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

The matchup I am most looking forward to is Lonzo Ball defending Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Lonzo and Steven Adams have been the Pels’ best defenders this season and Lonzo appears to have found another level defensively.

This was on full display against the Suns in the first quarter, when he held Devin Booker to just one shot attempt, played him physically and made things tough on him.

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It didn’t end up making a difference but Lonzo Ball is showing that he can be an elite on-the-ball defender.

SGA relies on his dribble penetration to get into the lane for an array of pull-ups and floaters that he hits at a high rate.

Lonzo needs to play him exactly like he did Goran Dragic in the second half against Miami, by getting into his chest, using his size and strength and making SGA work to get to his spots.

OKC’s offense pretty much goes as SGA goes this season, so if Lonzo Ball can shut him down, the Pelicans should be able to take care of business.

The New Orleans Pelicans can’t overlook the Thunder or they will get beat, but a focused effort should get them back into the win column.

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