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Thunder vs Pelicans, final score: OKC defense fails against New Orleans in 131-122 loss

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OKC Heads into All-Star Weekend on a bad loss to a dismantled team.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Boxscore | The Bird Writes

Oklahoma City played in one of only three NBA games Thursday night, when they traveled to face the New Orleans Pelicans. The Thunder were looking to head into the all-star break on a five game winning streak and only a game behind 2nd place Denver in the standings.

As we here at WTLC mentioned a few days ago, the Thunder are on a current trend where they produce great offense but the poorest defense. And tonight, the offense wasn’t that great either.

In the 131-122 loss to the Pelicans, Oklahoma City defense was terrible throughout. The Pelicans opened up with a 31 point first quarter, and had 101 points through three quarters, shooting 54% from the floor and 46% from three despite missing Anthony Davis for half the game.

Despite OKC’s 122 points produced, Paul George had a rare poor shooting night, which limited the Thunder from being able to get over the hump vs the Pelicans in this high scoring affair.

Good/Bad Takeaways

Good

Nerlens Noel had a great performance off the bench tonight. At the end of the first half, Noel already had tallied a double-double. Noel finished the game with a season high 22 points to go along with 13 rebounds. Due to his impressive first half, coach Billy Donovan started Noel over Patrick Patterson to start the second half.

Russell Westbrook continued his consecutive triple-double streak, now extending it to 11 straight games. Tonight looked like a vintage Westbrook performance from his MVP season. Despite shooting 4-12 from three, Westbrook. finished with 44 points on 60% shooting from the floor. Without Westbrook’s heroics, the Thunder would’ve been blown off the court.

Bad

The Thunder were unable to stop either Julius Randle or Jrue Holiday tonight. Every time Oklahoma City would cut into the Pelicans’ lead, either Randle or Holiday would score a timely basket for the Pelicans. In fact, if OKC had just focused on slowing down Randle, they likely win the game.

New Orleans was able to dominate in the paint against the Thunder. Pelicans’ star Anthony Davis didn't play the entire second half with a shoulder injury, and the Pelicans still scored 70 points in the paint.

Paul George’s hot streak seemed to cool off tonight, as he struggled shooting from the field. Even though George scored 28 points, he did shoot 11-29 from the field. George just wasn’t able to hit the clutch three pointers tonight, like he’s been doing all season.

With the loss Oklahoma City enters the all-star break with a record of 37-20. They sit four games back of the first place Warriors and two games back of the second place Nuggets in the West.

Next game: NBA All-Star Weekend