After a physically and mentally draining game in Denver last night, the Oklahoma City Thunder struggled to find the energy tonight. The New Orleans Pelicans got 43 points from Anthony Davis and came away with a 114-100 victory. The Thunder showed fatigue tonight, turning the ball over, missing open shots, and giving up easy baskets.
The Thunder came out aggressive and with energy early on, eventually building a 27-16 lead in the first quarter. They found success getting to the basket and drawing fouls. The long twos and threes that were falling the previous night were not falling tonight. Russell Westbrook was making it difficult for the Pelicans' defense, either getting to the basket or dishing it to Steven Adams for easy dunks. The Thunder led 32-22 after the first quarter.
The bench unit kept the intensity going into the 2nd quarter, scoring the first six points of the quarter and building a 16-point advantage. The Pelicans got back into the game with a personal 7-0 run from E'Twaun Moore. The Thunder kept a double-digit lead for a majority of the quarter, but failed to close out the quarter on a strong note. Leading 54-44, the Thunder were outscored 10-4 to end the quarter.
It seemed as if the Thunder gave all of the gas and energy they had in the first half, and played the second half running on fumes. Westbrook scored the first bucket of the half, giving them a 60-54 lead. However, by the 9 minute mark, the Thunder trailed 68-62. Davis and Moore were giving the Thunder defense all sorts of problems, eventually building a 9 point lead for the Pelicans.
The Thunder tried to make runs at getting back into the game, pulling it as close as 3, but they ran out of energy. In the fourth quarter, the Thunder were airballing threes, turning the ball over, and missing easy layups. Davis hit two straight threes that gave him over 40 points and gave the Pelicans a 13 point lead. The Thunder seemed ready to just get this game over with.
The Thunder shot 38% from the field and just 25% from the three point line. They had 24 assists and 16 turnovers on the night (8 assists and 12 turnovers in the 2nd half), and allowed the Pelicans to shoot over 50%. The Pels also scored 24 points off of the Thunder's 16 turnovers. The Thunder's scoring by quarter went down each quarter (32, 26, 25, 17), and it was not anything the Pelicans did defensively. It was the Thunder running out of energy.
Steven Adams led the Thunder with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Westbrook put up a triple double, despite struggling offensively, with 16 points, 14 assists, and 10 rebounds. George had a tough night shooting, scoring 15 points on 4-of-16 shooting. Carmelo Anthony scored 13 points on 6-of-17 shooting.
Jerami Grant had another double-figure scoring night off the bench with 12 points and also pulled down 12 boards. Alex Abrines scored 14 points off the bench.
Davis was incredible all night with 43 points and 10 rebounds. Moore put in 26 points on an efficient 10-of-14 shooting.
The Thunder return to action on Sunday afternoon against the Los Angeles Lakers in Oklahoma City.