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How to watch the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs without cable

Vaseline 2 months ago

The New Orleans Pelicans face the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs on Sunday, April 21, 2024 (4/21/24) at Paycom Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

How to watch: Fans can watch the game via a free trial DirectTV stream or via a subscription to Sling TV, with 50% discount on the first month.

Here’s what you need to know:

What: NBA regular season

WHO: New Orleans Pelicans vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

When: Sunday April 21, 2024

Where: Payment center

Time: 9:30 PM ET

TV: TNT

Channel finder: Verizon Fios, DirectTV stream, Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum/Charter, Optimal/Altice, Cox, DIRECTV, Dish, Hulu, fuboTV, Garland.

Live stream: Sling (50% off first month), DirecTV Stream (free trial)

AP NBA Story:

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma City coach Mark Daigneault used Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s subtle sacrifices to show why the Thunder aren’t like most playoff contenders labeled as a “young team.”

“Imagine if you are a player and you can just get 40?” Daigneault said. “He could be in a game and say, ‘I’m going to get 40 tonight.’”

The All-Star guard – who averages 30.4 points per game – could easily chase stats and individual accolades.

Instead, Gilgeous-Alexander has taken fewer shots and gotten to the free-throw line less often this season, causing his scoring to take a slight dip. But when the 25-year-old Canadian took a step back, his teammates blossomed, helping to accelerate the team’s rebuild.

One year after winning 40 games and reaching the Play-In Tournament and two years after winning just 24 times, Oklahoma City has 55 wins and is competing for the best record in the Western Conference.

Daigneault said Gilgeous-Alexander’s maturity has been an accelerator for the franchise.

“When you look at the best teams and the best players, there is a level of restraint they show that leaves room for the rest of the team to operate and function with confidence. He did a great job, Daigneault said.

Gilgeous-Alexander has been able to take a step back without OKC taking a step back because Thunder general manager Sam Presti has surrounded him with top young talent. In the period between the start of the 2021-22 season and the start of this season, Chet Holmgren, Jalen Williams and Josh Giddey have won eight of the 12 Western Conference Rookie of the Month awards.

So Gilgeous-Alexander, a first-team All-NBA selection last year, doesn’t have to force things. He has set career highs in field goal percentage (.539) and assists (6.2 per game) this season.

“He’s an MVP candidate,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “You can’t say anything else about it. If you have that, it’s your responsibility to build around it. And they did it. They certainly deserve a lot of credit.”

— Holmgren was the second overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft, but a foot injury kept him out last season. He fit in seamlessly as a rookie this season, averaging 16.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game.

— Williams – runner-up for Rookie of the Year last season with Holmgren out – is averaging 19.3 points per game and shooting 53.9% from the field.

— Giddey, a second-team All-Rookie team member after being the sixth overall pick in 2021, is averaging 12.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. He was especially good in March, averaging 16.3 points on 57% shooting, 7.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game.

— Fifth starter Lu Dort has gone from undrafted in 2019 to one of the best defensive guards in the league. He is also shooting a career-best 39.5% from three-point range.

“The organization has done a fantastic job,” Popovich said. “Sam Presti is special and the work he does is brilliant. And the entire technical staff is involved, organized, makes people responsible and creative. The players are talented, but that is not enough. They are disciplined.”

Sacramento Kings coach Mike Brown, whose team took a big leap forward last season, said the Thunder have something going on.

“If you can go through the process the right way, you’ll be able to find guys who enjoy playing, not just together, but for each other,” he said. “And you can see from the outside that this group is really playing for each other on both ends of the floor and they believe they are good and they belong, which is big.”

Gilgeous-Alexander has also improved defensively, leading the league with 2.1 steals per game. While this group has yet to win a playoff series together, he believes the Thunder won’t be intimidated.

“Every team wants it equally,” he said. “The game, the hustle and the focus have increased a bit. But at the end of the day, it’s still basketball and the same things work.”

Oklahoma City’s rally from 20 points down to beat the Kings on Tuesday illustrated another trait that could serve the Thunder well in the playoffs: resilience.

“We’ve been in this situation many times,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “We know what it takes. I think that muscle has been trained a bit. You know, no one wants to go that deep. But it’s a luxury to have guys who understand how to bounce back and how to deal with adversity. And I think we have a group of guys who do.

Oklahoma City had the league’s third-youngest roster on opening night with an average age of 24 years and 43 days. But that doesn’t mean the team has to be reckless.

“If we hold ourselves to the standard of a young team, it’s like, at what point are we going to change that?” Daigneault said. “We’ve just tried to build a really strong foundation that can transcend any team, any age and any team, any team cycle, so we can now build on that.”

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Thank you for relying on us for the journalism you can trust. Then consider supporting us with a subscription. Cayden Steele can be reached at [email protected]