The Thunder took on the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night in hopes of adding a win to their three-game winning streak. The Pelicans were in need of a victory after dropping three of their last four. After a back and forth affair early, OKC went on a run to take a 22-point lead at one point, and despite a late comeback from New Orleans, the Thunder was able to hold on to take the 122-116 win at home.
Russell Westbrook worked his magic early creating space for his fellow outside shooters, but no one could get anything to fall to start the game. OKC was forced to call a timeout after the Pelicans jumped out to an early 10-6 lead. Right out of the timeout, Paul George splashed a three, which eventually led to a 12-3 run for OKC, courtesy of a Ferguson dunk, another PG three, and a strong finish at the rim from Russell. Despite the run, New Orleans was able to climb back to tie the game at 28-28 at the end of the first quarter after a pair threes from Darius Miller.
PG leads all scorers after Q1. Nine points. a trio of treys. 👌👌👌 pic.twitter.com/qGMIU5bYcP— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) January 25, 2019
Abdel Nader opened the second quarter by completing the alley-oop from Paul George, which was followed by a strong offensive rebound and put back by Patrick Patterson to get the crowd on its feet. Terrance Ferguson hit a three just a few seconds after making a solid defensive stop, followed by Jerami Grant back-to-back threes to spark a small 9-2 run for OKC. The Thunder was able to clamp down on D and get a run late to take a commanding 65-53 lead going into halftime.
Russell Westbrook earned his 15th triple-double of the season after retrieving a rebound within the first few minutes of the third quarter. The Thunder ball movement looked solid from this point, racking up 24 assists out of 30 made field goals. New Orleans opened the quarter shooting 1-6, while OKC shot 4-5. Jrue Holiday put an end to the slow start by converting an and-one down the lane. Miller and Holiday both went on to hit threes, which gave New Orleans a 9-0 advantage in two minutes as Billy Donovan decided to call a timeout. Three pointers from Dennis Schröder and PG sparked offensive momentum for OKC to regain their commanding lead by as much as 22 points despite a late third quarter Pelicans run.
Nerlens Noel topped off an alley-oop from George to open the fourth quarter, which seemingly was the only basket that fell for OKC for several minutes. New Orleans was able to capitalize on the slow Thunder start by sparking a run of their own and bringing the game within single digits for the first time since early in the first. With four minutes to go, OKC led by 9 points. At this point, Darius Miller hit a three, which brought the game within 6. It seemed like it could be a possible devastating comeback from behind defeat in the making, but OKC was able to hold off a strong fight from New Orleans to take the 122-116 victory in front of their home crowd.
Thunder Player of the Game
Steven Adams had himself a night in the paint shooting 9-12 with 20 points from the field while also snagging 13 rebounds. Adams has proven himself as a consistent threat for OKC, and he very well may find himself in the NBA All-Star game. Even if he doesn’t make, he has shown Thunder fans his value time and time again this season, and tonight’s performance was no shock to those who have watched him since early in his career.
Next up for OKC the Thunder hosts the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday evening. The Bucks own the NBA’s best record at 34-12, and they are riding a 5-game winning streak. They are tied for the fewest losses on the road in the entire league, so this is going to be perhaps the toughest game the Thunder has had all season so far. Tip-off is set for 5 PM CT on ESPN and Fox Sports Oklahoma, and the game will be broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM.
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