Pelicans lose Davis but cool off red-hot Thunder
By Agence France-Presse
Julius Randle finished with 33 points and 11 rebounds as the New Orleans Pelicans overcame another triple double from Russell Westbrook to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 131-122 on Thursday.
The victory could prove costly for the Pelicans as all-star Anthony Davis left the game with a shoulder injury at the end of the first half.
The disgruntled Davis, who has requested a trade, did not return and it was unknown whether the injury would keep him out of the NBA all-star game on Sunday in Charlotte, North Carolina. Davis finished with 14 points in 15 minutes of playing time.
Randle also added three clutch baskets in the final minute and teammate Jrue Holiday scored 32 points for the Pelicans, who have lost eight of their last 12 games as the league now heads into the annual mid-season all-star break.
“Man, we had to be up for this one, the last one before the break,” said Holiday. “We came out and fought hard against a great team with Paul George and Russell Westbrook.”
Westbrook continued his eye-popping performances, extending his league record with an 11th straight triple-double as he finished with 44 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists.
It was the 12th time in Westbrook’s career in which he scored at least 40 points in a triple-double. That puts him in a tie for second place with Houston’s James Harden for the most 40-point triple-doubles in NBA history.
However, Westbrook missed badly on a poorly executed three point attempt with Oklahoma City behind by five points late in Thursday’s game. The Pelicans took possession of the ball and cruised from there.
On Monday, Westbrook’s triple-double against Portland extended his streak to 10 games, breaking Wilt Chamberlain’s mark of nine straight set in 1968.
“I have so much room for improvement, just for me personally, because I know how good I can be and how much I can bring to the game and to help this team be successful,” he said. “So I’m very, very optimistic.”
George added 28 points, and Nerlens Noel tallied 22 for the Thunder, who had won four straight and 11 of 12.
E’Twaun Moore scored 15 points and Jahlil Okafor had 12 as New Orleans bounced back from having its lowest point totals of the season in its two most recent games — a 99-90 loss at Memphis on Saturday and a 118-88 blowout loss to Orlando on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, Dennis Smith scored 19 points as the hapless New York Knicks ended their 18-game losing streak with a 106-91 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
“It has been a long time since we got a win. We had to lock down,” said Smith.
The streak set a franchise record for consecutive loses in a season and this was their first win since January 4 when they beat the struggling Los Angeles Lakers.
Also, the Orlando Magic snapped a 13-game losing streak to Charlotte by beating the Hornets 127-89 behind 21 points from Terrence Ross.