Thunder look to remain hot on road at Pelicans
The Oklahoma City Thunder are one of the hottest teams in the NBA.
They have won five of their last six games, are 17-4 since starting the season 0-4 and have established the best record in the Western Conference (17-8).
The only thing consistent about the New Orleans Pelicans in the last two weeks has been their inconsistency.
They have alternated wins and losses during their last eight games.
If the Pelicans’ pattern continues, they’ll win when they host the Thunder on Wednesday night.
But that will be a challenge, given the way Oklahoma City has been playing. The Thunder led by as many as 29 points during their 122-113 home victory against Utah on Monday.
“I’m enjoying playing with this group,” Thunder forward Paul George told NewsOK.com. “We’ve got a special group here. We want to win. We want to win big. That’s first and foremost.”
George scored 31 points, making 5 of 6 3-pointers, against the Jazz as the home crowd provided chants of “MVP” in the background.
“I think you’d be hard pressed right now to find guys that are playing at a higher level than (George) is,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan told NewsOK.com.
The Thunder are 14-1 this season against teams with sub-.500 records, which includes a 122-116 home victory against the Pelicans, who were 4-5 entering the Nov. 5 game and left with the last loss of a six-game losing streak.
New Orleans is again sub-.500 (14-15) after alternating wins and losses for the last two weeks.
The Pelicans had a four-game losing streak after losing at home to Boston on Nov. 26.
They ended that losing streak by beating Washington, then they lost at Miami, won at Charlotte, lost to the Clippers, beat Dallas, lost to Memphis, won at Detroit and lost to the Celtics again, 113-100, on Monday night in Boston.
The Celtics led by as many as 22 points on Monday despite playing without five injured or ill players, including Al Horford, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
“We just didn’t do a really good job of handling dribble penetration,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told his team’s official website. “They took the ball wherever they wanted to take it. We just couldn’t keep them in front.”
Anthony Davis matched his second-highest point total of the season by scoring 41 points after having just six in the victory at Detroit a day earlier.
“Win one, lose one, win one, lose one for the past eight, nine games so we’ve got to put a string of wins together,” Davis told the team’s official website.
The game against Oklahoma City will be New Orleans’ eighth game in 15 days. The Pelicans have not had more than one day between games since Nov. 8-9.
After this game they stay home and have three days off before hosting Miami on Sunday.
“We’ve got to regroup,” Davis told the website. “We’ve got another one on Wednesday against a team that’s hot right now, OKC. But we play well at home so hopefully can get that one, then we have like three or four days off where we can regroup and recollect ourselves and try to put a string of wins together.”
The Pelicans are 10-4 at home and the Thunder are 7-5 on the road.