Thunder survive NOLA, win third straight

The Oklahoma City Thunder were on the road for a one-night stand against New Orleans tonight. New Orleans with just one win this season and remains winless at home. Oklahoma City came into the game-winning back-to-back games against the Lakers and Spurs. The Pelicans are awaiting the return of Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson, which could still be at least two weeks away.

OKC lately has been a complete second-half team. They are last in the league at first-quarter points at just under 22 points per game. However, the Thunder started tonight’s game aggressive and jumped out to an early eight-point lead, scoring 28 points in the first quarter. However, Devonte’ Graham scored ten first-quarter points, helping New Orleans overcome OKC’s eight-point lead. The Pelicans lead after the first quarter, 29-28.

The second quarter of this game turned into the basketball scene from “Little Nicky” with Adam Sandler. The Pelicans received five technical fouls during the first half, including two on Josh Hart.

The officiating duo of Scott Foster and Jenna Schroeder took control of this game and issued an 18-hit foul combo to go with five technical fouls. Still, OKC held an eight-point lead going to the half, 56-48. The Pelicans fans reacted with a chorus of boo’s that reverbed throughout the Smoothie King Center. The fans even harmonized a traditional “Ref you suck” chant, which was well done.

Lou Dort was the scoring leader for the Thunder with 18 first-half points. In addition, Dort was the only Thunder player to score in doubles during the first half. The third quarter was much like the 3rd quarter versus San Antonio. OKC went on an 18-0 run during the third quarter. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Darius Bazley came alive for the Thunder finishing the quarter with 14 points for Bazley and 17 for Gilgeous-Alexander. Thunder led 85-71 after the third quarter.

The Pelicans found themselves down by as many as 21 in the fourth quarter. However, the Pelicans began using a full-court press midway through the fourth. At the 7:21 mark, OKC led by 21. However, the Pelicans went on a 19-5 run to cut the lead to five with a minute left. Ironically, the cousin of Gilgeous-Alexander, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, was the reason for the Pelican’s late game push. He finished the game with 31 points, ten rebounds, and four assists. However, it wasn’t enough as OKC won the game 108-100

Lou Dort led the way with 27 points, Gilgeous-Alexander followed with 24 points for the Thunder. Josh Giddey flirted with a triple-double with seven points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists. OKC will host Sacramento on Friday. They’ll be featuring their new “City edition” jerseys as well.

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