The Thunder fall to the Pelicans at home 114-100 for the first time since Anthony Davis’s buzzer-beater back in 2015. Adams monster game and Russ’s triple-double just wasn’t enough to stop the red-hot shooting of the Pelicans.
Oklahoma City falls to 30-23 on the season and now have lost three straight.
Having been in three different time zones within the last few days, the OKC Thunder had themselves back home to face a pretty depleted and injury-ridden Pelicans team. With no Roberson to help protect the wing, the Thunder have had some defensive struggles over the past two games without him.
After giving up 72 points in the first half against the Nuggets yesterday, eventually to lose on a buzzer-beating three by Gary Harris, the guys in blue were determined to tighten up their defense against the Pelicans. The Thunder only gave up 22 points in the first, and thanks to a 23-6 run starting at the 8:45 mark, the Thunder built a lead of 10.
One thing that noticeably changed was the tempo at which the Thunder ran their offense. When its speed up, they got into a rhythm and started hitting shots and getting open looks. That started to slow down towards the end of the second quarter and the Pelicans cut the Thunder lead to single digits.
Sloppy defense and quick offensive possessions by the thunder kept New Orleans close by to eventually start making shots. The Thunder struggled in the third losing it 36-25 and had to stop the bleeding if they were going to pull a win out.
Sadly, that didn’t happen.
Westbrook finished with 16 points (7-of-21 shooting), 11 rebounds and 14 assists. He also had nine turnovers.
Steven Adams with 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting with 12 rebounds. Paul George finished with 15 points and Carmelo Anthony with 13 points.
The problem for most of the game was the Thunder’s inability to get defensive stops and turn them into transition points. The Pelicans got hot from three-point range (13-of-24) and the Thunder would come up empty on quick, inefficient offensive possessions.
Clearly, the Thunder are missing Roberson but for now, they’ve got to find a way to do it without him.
Oklahoma City will take Saturday off and rest up as the Los Angeles Lakers will be in town for a Sunday matinee on ABC. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. Brady Trantham will be in arena for your game day coverage.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Limit Threes: D
The Thunder did a very bad job at doing this. Plain and simple. They gave up 13 of them, no bueno. The Thunder are clearly missing Roberson’s perimeter defense and it showed tonight.
Felton had five points and four assists off the bench, but got into some foul trouble later in the game and just couldn’t spark the second unit enough. Grant, however, had a pretty nice game with 12 points and 12 rebounds. He was a monster on the boards and brought some needed energy to a clearly fatigued basketball team. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough
The Thunder won the rebounding battle 52-41, but the presence on the boards didn’t really show. OKC’s problems came mostly from the perimeter. While they did give up many points in the paint (56) that’s not what ultimately beat the Thunder.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!