In a game that featured 20 lead changes, 11 ties, and 7 technical fouls, the Oklahoma City Thunder picked up their 3rd win a row as they swept the season series against the new-look New Orleans Pelicans. New Orleans led by 9 midway through the first quarter and ended the period up 35-32 as Anthony Davis poured in 24 points for the Pelicans. DeMarcus Cousins came out strong in the 2nd quarter for the Pelicans as he scored 19 points, but the Thunder fought back to tie it up 59-59 at the half, and they looked to take care of business from that point forward. Davis and Cousins came out in the second half continuing their scoring streak as they combined for 14 points in the 3rd, but Oklahoma City finished the quarter with an 87-84 lead. The Pelicans briefly retook the lead to go up 91-90 just two minutes into the 4th quarter, but the Thunder quickly scored and led the rest of the way as Russell Westbrook had yet another fantastic finish for the Thunder, and Oklahoma City came away with another home win as they defeated the Pelicans 118-110.
Russ Jams His Way to 29th Triple-Double
For the 29th time this season and 66th time in his career, Russell Westbrook finished with a triple-double as he scored 41 points shooting 14/29 (48.3%) from the field and 11/12 (91.7%) from the free throw line to go with 11 assists and 11 rebounds. This was his fourth triple-double of the season in which he scored 40 or more points, something he has done a total of 7 times in his career.
Westbrook has shown time and time again just how clutch he is, and tonight was no different as he scored an incredible 21 points in the 4th quarter, a career-high for him, while shooting 7/10 (70%) from the field and 5/5 (100%) from the free throw line to go along with 4 rebounds.
Perhaps the most exciting part of Westbrook’s 4th quarter run came with just 2:38 left in the game as he drove right past Jrue Holiday and cut into the lane for a tomahawk jam while taking contact from DeMarcus Cousins, who fouled out in the process.
The dunk and free throw put Oklahoma City up 110-106, and with all the momentum in the building on their side, the Thunder cruised to the end for the 118-110 win.
Abrines Continues to Shine
In his second consecutive start, Alex Abrines picked up right where he left on Friday night as he scored 13 points while shooting a poor 4/12 (33.3%) from the field but a solid 3/7 (42.9%) from three. With the Thunder’s ability to score successfully into the paint, finding Abrines wide open on three-point line is quickly becoming the norm.
Oladipo should be returning to play soon, so Abrines will return to the bench, but if he continues to play at this level and shoot consistently from deep, he should find himself with plenty of time on the court.
Kanter Finds His Rhythm
In just his second game since returning from injury, Enes Kanter already appears to be back at the level with which he was playing prior to the injury. Kanter finished second on the team in scoring with 20 points while shooting 6/9 (67%) from the floor and 8/10 (80%) from the free throw line. He also pulled down 9 rebounds and dished out 3 assists, an area that he has continued to improve this season.
Another area that Kanter played well in tonight (and has continued to improve in all season) was his defense. For much of the second half, Kanter found himself matched up with DeMarcus Cousins, and while he did not render Cousins completely useless, he was able to slow him down a bit.
Thunder at Home on Tuesday
The Thunder hosts Utah at the Peake on Tuesday for the 3rd of 4 games against the Jazz this season. Oklahoma City split the first two games with the Jazz, both of which were played in Salt Lake City. Utah currently has a record of 37-22 and are sitting in 4th place in the Western Conference standings, just 3 games ahead of the Thunder. The Jazz have won 3 games in a row and 4 of their last 5 on the road, while the Thunder is also riding a 3-game win streak, winning 6 of their last 7 at home. Tip-off is set for 7 PM, and the game will be televised on FSOK. It will also be broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM.
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.