Dec 21, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) is defended by New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday (11) during the first quarter of a game at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
(The Sports Xchange) – Russell Westbrook scored a team-high 42 points, including 11 consecutive in the final five minutes, and reserve guard Alex Abrines scored 18 points to lift the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 121-110 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday at the Smoothie King Center.
Westbrook, the NBA’s leading scorer, added 10 rebounds and seven assists and fell short of his 51 triple-double of the season. The Thunder (17-12), who had lost three of four games coming in, also got 14 points and 14 rebounds from center Enes Kanter.
The Pelicans (10-21) were led by Anthony Davis, who scored 34 points and had 15 rebounds, and by Jrue Holiday with a season-high 23 points.
Tyreke Evans cut the Oklahoma City lead to 89-87 with a 3-pointer from the right wing, but the Thunder then went on an 11-0 spurt, fueled by reserve guard Alex Abrines’ nine points that included two 3-pointers.
Abrines added another long-range jumper and Oklahoma City led 105-89 with 8:04 left. Abrines finished 5 of 10 from long range.
The Pelicans opened the third quarter with a small lineup and got three consecutive layups by Davis, Holiday and Terrence Jones to take a 64-63 lead. But Westbrook scored 12 points in the quarter as Oklahoma City took an 87-84 lead into the fourth quarter.
Westbrook drew a blocking foul on Davis with 4:58 left in the quarter — Davis’ fourth foul — and that opened up the middle for the Thunder.
Westbrook finished the first half with force, scoring Oklahoma City’s final eight points in the last 1:20 of the second quarter to give the Thunder a 63-58 lead. Westbrook finished the first half with 19 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Davis kept the Pelicans in the game, scoring 17 points and grabbing six rebounds in the first half. But Davis had to sit after picking up his third foul on Westbrook’s drive to the basket with 3:11 left in the half.
The Pelicans made 15 of 16 free throws in the first half to somewhat offset Oklahoma City’s 28-18 advantage in the paint. Holiday added 14 first-half points for New Orleans.