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Thunder top Pelicans in NOLA

Jan 25, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) reacts after teammate center Enes Kanter (not pictured) during against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first quarter at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder nabbed their second straight victory tonight against the New Orleans Pelicans, 114-105. The Pelicans were coming off a victory over the defending champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers, as the Thunder had just knocked off a hot Utah Jazz team.

Russell Westbrook racked up his 23rd triple-double, notching 27 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Westbrook wasn’t exactly efficient from the field, only shooting 7-of-22, but he was constantly getting others involved in every aspect of the game.

Steven Adams ended the game with an impressive 20 points and 11 rebounds, as he recorded his second  straight game with four blocks. Also from the starters, Oladipo added 15 points and three triples, accounting for a team-best +18. Roberson had a nice game as he shot 4-of-4 from the field, scoring eight points. Domantas Sabonis also scored eight.

Bench play was huge for the Thunder in their victory tonight, as all five players scored. Enes Kanter had another impressive game off the bench, scoring 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Abrines scored an efficient 11 points, on 4-of-5 shooting and 2-of-2 from downtown. Cameron Payne pitched in five points.

New Orleans went on a run in the third and fourth quarter, and even cut the game to five points when it was 105-100. OKC really took over and won the game in transition.

OKC took advantage of Anthony Davis missing the second half and got after it on the boards, grabbing 55 total on the game. It seemed like the Thunder were getting points exclusively from the paint late in the third quarter, just pounding the Pelicans who had no interior defense to answer.

The Pelicans leading scorer was E’Twaun Moore of the bench who scored 18 points, followed by Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans with 14 each. Terrence Jones also added 12.

The Thunder’s interior defense really stood out as the Pelicans couldn’t get a lot going inside. They shot only 42 percent as the Thunder blocked 11 shots.

Next up for OKC is Thursday at home against the Dallas Mavericks. This ends a six-game road stretch, as the Thunder return to the Chesapeake Energy Arena at 7 p.m.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Control the paint: A+

The Thunder dominated inside tonight. Even when Davis was playing in the first half, they held him to 8 points. OKC out-rebounded the Pelicans 55-47. Both big men for the Thunder had huge games. The Thunder demolished their season average in points in the paint, scoring 66 tonight.  “We just kind of went inside,” Adams said.  “Seeing that it was a bit of a weakness for them, and we managed to get some easy ones and play inside out.”

Fast break points: B

Oklahoma City finished with 20 fast break points. A lot of the fast break points came off steals and none were bigger than Oladipo’s steal and score late in the fourth quarter. The Thunder didn’t get out and run an abnormal amount tonight, but that’s because they found scoring in other ways.

Defend the three: B+

The Pelicans made 11 threes tonight but they also attempted 27. The Thunder didn’t allow any Pelicans to make more than two 3-pointers. The defense was flying around and making plays, especially in the first half.

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