National Basketball Association
Thunder-Pelicans Preview
National Basketball Association

Thunder-Pelicans Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 6:46 p.m. ET

The Oklahoma City Thunder rely heavily on Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The same can be said of Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans.

Durant and Westbrook look to continue spurring the Thunder's success on the road Thursday night when they face Davis and the Pelicans.

Oklahoma City (41-16) has an 11-game lead in the Northwest Division, and the bulk of that credit goes to Durant and Westbrook.

Durant is third in the league with 27.7 points per game, while Westbrook is tied with Davis for seventh at 24.0 and also second in assists with a career-high 10.2.


Durant and Westbrook made an impact again Wednesday, scoring 24 points apiece as Oklahoma City avoided a third straight loss with a 116-103 victory at Dallas.

It was the Thunder's 13th win in the past 17 road game since Dec. 8, tying Cleveland for the best away winning percentage in that span.

Westbrook handed out 13 assists for his 10th double-double in 11 games, while Serge Ibaka and Steven Adams combined for 28 points on 13-for-21 shooting.

"My job is to be able to find those guys when they're making shots, when they're contributing to our team," Westbrook said.

Westbrook, however, has done much of the damage himself in helping Oklahoma City take three of the last four with the Pelicans (22-34). He's averaging 39.8 points and 8.8 assists while sinking 56.1 percent of his shots in those games.

He poured in 45 points in a 102-91 win in the most recent visit to New Orleans while Durant was out with a toe injury Feb. 4, 2015.

The Thunder coasted to a 121-95 win over the Pelicans on Feb. 11, getting 23 points each from Durant and Westbrook while Ibaka added 18.

They'll face a formidable home team in the Pelicans, winners of eight of 11 in New Orleans while averaging 108.7 points on 47.2 percent shooting, including 41.6 from beyond the arc.

They were nowhere near that productive Tuesday, making 34.9 percent from the field and 6 of 23 from 3-point range in a 109-89 loss at Washington.

Davis' performance was indicative to those struggles as he only managed nine points on 3-for-9 shooting while adding 20 rebounds. That came two days after the star forward had a career-high 59 points with 20 boards in a 111-106 win at Detroit.

"He's not going to force shots up there so he can have 20 shots," coach Alvin Gentry said. "If they're doing a good job, he's still going to play in the flow of the game. As coaches, what we've got to try to do is that we've got to try to figure out - even with two guys on him - how we can get more shots for him.

"The thing about this league is that everybody does a great job scouting."

Davis is averaging 31.3 points on 60 percent shooting in his last four meetings against the Thunder.

Jrue Holiday scored a team-high 20 Tuesday, part of his 22.5 average over the last six games.


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