New Orleans At Oklahoma City
When: 7:00 PM
ET, Sunday, December 21, 2014
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
With or without reigning MVP Kevin Durant, the Oklahoma City Thunder look to continue their surge Sunday when they host the New Orleans Pelicans. The Thunder won for the eighth time in nine games when Russell Westbrook had 31 points and 10 assists in a 104-103 victory Friday against the Lakers as Durant rested a sore ankle. The Pelicans, trying to establish themselves as a playoff contender, were embarrassed 114-88 at home Saturday against Portland, which was coming off a triple-overtime win Friday.
Westbrook is averaging 31.7 points per 36 minutes — best in the NBA — and is shooting a career-high 47.2 percent from the floor with 7.2 assists per game. Due to their spurt, Oklahoma City has moved within one-half game of Phoenix and New Orleans for the eighth playoff spot. New Orleans is playing the third in a string of eight of 10 games against teams with winning records.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN New Orleans, FSN Oklahoma
ABOUT THE PELICANS (13-13): New Orleans fell behind early and was never in the game against Portland. Emerging star Anthony Davis (seven points on 3-of-14 shooting) was totally outplayed by LaMarcus Aldridge (27 points on 12-of-20 shooting) and the Pelicans shot just 35.3 percent. New Orleans beat the Thunder 112-104 on Dec. 2 in Durant's return. Durant scored 27 points, but Davis had 25 points, 10 rebounds, six steals and four blocks, and Tyreke Evans scored 30.
ABOUT THE THUNDER (13-14): Westbrook is averaging a career-high 27.2 points in just 30.9 minutes a game. He has three consecutive 30-point games, seven straight games of 28-plus — the longest streak in the NBA this season — and 11 straight of 20-plus games. His pull-up jumper from the elbow with 31 seconds left iced the win over the Lakers. "It's a shot that I work on consistently," Westbrook said of his mid-range shot. "It's a shot that gives me the opportunity to drive to the basket or make plays for my teammates from that position."
1. Durant has missed 18 games this season after missing just 16 in his first seven NBA seasons combined.
2. Westbrook joins LeBron James as the only players this season with three straight games of 30 or more points and seven or more assists.
3. Davis had scored 30-plus points in three of his previous four prior to Portland.
PREDICTION: Thunder 104, Pelicans 98
Stats and Records
Oklahoma City Off vs
New Orleans Def
96.5 Points For
102.6 Points Against