Previewing the rest of the NBA playoff series now that the play-in dust has settled

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers
Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages
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1 Thunder vs 8 Pelicans

The other Western Conference series that was determined by the play-in involves the top-seeded Thunder who now host the Pelicans. The Pelicans are a young team with tons of depth and rangy wing play. They are loaded with good role players but I worry about the stars.

Both of these teams are green in terms of playoff experience and looking for their first real breakthrough. This could actually have the potential to be an excellent series, but unfortunately it’s marred by the fact that the Pels will be without Zion Williamson who was injured in their first play-in game.

Without Zion, the Pels just don’t have enough offensive firepower to keep up. Brandon Ingram is still working his way back from injury and hasn’t looked 100%, while CJ McCollum was downright bad in the two play-in games.

I think the Pels will make some runs and keep some games interesting, especially if they can get some threes to fall and play through big man, Jonas Valanciunas on offense. But the Thunder should play him off the floor with pace and spacing. They have too much firepower on both ends, and I think Shai Gilgeous-Alexand, Jalen Willimas, and Chet Holmgren will make big playoff statements.

The pick: Thunder in 5