Postgame wrap: Thunder 123, Pelicans 118
Thunder (33-22), Pelicans (23-32)
New Orleans should be glad that Oklahoma City is no longer on the schedule for the remainder of 2019-20. Not because the Thunder dominated the Pelicans in a four-game head-to-head sweep. No, nearly every matchup was winnable, yet Oklahoma City always found a way to make more big plays in crunch time.
OKC made it a 4-0 series over NOLA on Thursday, again outscoring the Pelicans in the clutch. The Western Conference meeting was tied with 5:00 remaining, but the Thunder came up with key baskets in the final minutes, while the Pelicans couldn’t convert on a couple momentous good looks from three-point range. New Orleans was playing without leading scorer Brandon Ingram (right ankle sprain), but remained competitive all night, before seeing its three-game winning streak end.
In the final three matchups between the squads this season, OKC won games by margins of three, five and five points against New Orleans.
“It is frustrating, but like I said before (the game), you have to beat this team,” Alvin Gentry said of the Thunder, alluding to how the visitors only had nine turnovers, while the hosts had 17. “They’re not going to beat themselves.”
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Oklahoma City ran off extra time from the clock leading by three points, before Dennis Schroder knocked down a pair of free throws for a 123-118 lead. Danilo Gallinari sank a key jumper prior to that to give OKC a six-point edge in the final minute.
PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Zion Williamson notched a career high in scoring for a second straight game, this time posting 32 points in efficient fashion. The rookie forward was 11/19 from the field and 10/13 from the foul line, while grabbing six rebounds.
BY THE NUMBERS
24-9: Oklahoma City edge in points off turnovers.
50, 48.1: Shooting percentages from the field and three-point range for Oklahoma City on a very strong offensive night, especially when paired with its low turnover count.
22, 24: Points for OKC reserve Schroder and NOLA reserve JJ Redick, both second-best for their team Thursday.
For all eight Thursday games throughout New Orleans’ regular season, we’ll be selecting a Pelicans player we think will most exceed his season average in made three-pointers that night. Daniel Sallerson selected Nicolo Melli (entered Thursday at 1.1 threes per game), while Jim Eichenhofer picked JJ Redick (3.0). In a fan poll among four other candidates, Lonzo Ball (2.3) was chosen. The winner of the fourth contest was the fans, after Ball shot 5/8 from dep. As a result, the season standings are now Jim 3, Daniel 2, Fans 2. There is only one Thursday game remaining for New Orleans.
Pelicans vs. Thunder: Dance Cam Battle
Game 55: Pelicans vs. Thunder 2/13/20
New Orleans Pelicans fans show off their moves on the Dance Cam during the team's game against the Thunder on February 13, 2020.
Entertainment: Pelicans Mini Drummers 2nd quarter performance - February 13 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Pelicans mini drummers performed for fans during the 2nd quarter of the team's home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on February 13, 2020.
Entertainment: Pelicans Dance & Hype Team 3rd quarter performance - February 13 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Pelicans Dance & Hype Team performed for fans during the 3rd quarter of the team's home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on February 13, 2020.
Entertainment: National Anthem performance by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Choir – February 13 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Choir performed the United States National Anthem in the Smoothie King Center on Thursday, February 13 as the New Orleans Pelicans take on the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The 689 Swampers performed for fans during the team's home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on February 13, 2020.
Zion Williamson speaks to the media following the Pelicans' close loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Head Coach Alvin Gentry speaks to the media following the Pelicans' loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
New Orleans Pelicans guard JJ Redick catches fire vs. Thunder.
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson highlights vs. Thunder.
New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball highlights vs. Thunder.
New Orleans Pelicans guard JJ Redick knocks down the late triple to cut the OKC lead to one.
New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball dishes to Zion Williamson for the bucket.
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson leaks out on the fast break and slips past the defender for the dunk.
New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball sinks the wing three while getting fouled.
New Orleans Pelicans guard Frank Jackson finds Zion Williamson back door for the alley-oop dunk.
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson spikes the shot attempt into the stands.
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson backs down the defender and finishes the And-1.
New Orleans Pelicans guard JJ Redick finds the cutting Jaxson Hayes for the emphatic dunk.
New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday snatches the rebound and finds Derrick Favors for the dunk.
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson gathers his own miss and slams it home.
Head Coach Alvin Gentry speaks the media prior to the Pelicans' matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram speaks to media after shootaround on February 13, 2020.
Pelicans guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker speaks to media after shootaround on February 13, 2020.