Pelicans’ Willie Green calls out Thunder’s flopping in 32-point thrashing

The Pelicans committed eight offensive fouls in Game 2 against the Thunder.

Pelicans' Willie Green complaining to referees

After keeping it close in Game 1, the New Orleans Pelicans got blown out of the watergot blown out of the water in Game 2 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. OKC was able to adjust and get their offense going after struggling in Game 1. New Orleans, on the other hand, continued to struggle on offense. The result is a 32-point blowout as the series shifts to Louisiana.

Something that also hampered the Pelicans in the game was their lack of discipline. They committed eight offensive fouls and multiple defensive fouls. After the game, Pelicans head coach Willie Green complainedcomplained about the Thunder’s supposed flopping that got them more calls, per Pelicans Film Room.

“”I saw a lot of flopping to be honest with you. A lot of flopping.”

— Willie Green on the 8 offensive fouls.”

It was a brutal day for the Pelicans, who committed five more fouls than the Thunder in Game 2. To make matters worse, OKC continued to prove that they had a good gameplan to challenge the Pels. Luguentz Dort continued to make Brandon Ingram’s life hell, limiting him to just 10 shot attempts. The absence of Zion Williamson continues to be felt heavily by the team.

On the other end, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chet Holmgren played up to their superstar potentialplayed up to their superstar potential. SGA, after a relatively quiet night, popped off for 33 points, five assists, three rebounds, and two steals. Holmgren, on the other hand, had 27 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks. It was a dominant outing from the star duo, the type of performance we’ve come to expect from them.

Pelicans’ playoff outlook

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) shoots a three-point basket as New Orleans Pelicans forward Larry Nance Jr. (22) comes in to defend during the second half of game two of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Paycom Center.

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Game 1 was perhaps the Pelicans’ best shot at swiping away home court advantage from the Thunder in the playoffs. It was the quintessential playoff scenario from a young playoff team: OKC looked jilted, disoriented. It seemed like the pressure of the playoffs caught up to them.

Unfortunately, the Pelicans were not able to capitalize on this golden opportunity. A few days after Ingram helped carry New Orleans against the Kings, the Thunder’s defensive prowess stymied the former All-Star. That poor offensive performance from Ingram ultimately is what doomed the team in Game 1.

Things are only going to get harder from the Pelicans from here on out. The Thunder’s proverbial engine is warm now, and New Orleans will still not have Zion Williamson for at least a few more games. Their goal has to be to extend the series and buy enough time for Williamson to return from his injury. He should be reevaluated soon, so there’s that.

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