When the Pelicans come to town, the first — perhaps the only — question is “How bad is Anthony Davis going to hurt us?” From the looks of things early on, the answer was “Plenty”; Davis had piled up 24 points by halftime, and Steven Adams, who’d barely been able to defend against him, exited early with a left-ankle sprain. What might have been an easy win suddenly became a bit more difficult, and New Orleans kept finding ways to score that didn’t involve Davis. (One of those was rookie Buddy Hield, a #6 draft pick from OU, who got quite the reception from the Loud City crowd, and who promptly rolled up 16 points and four rebounds.) The Pelicans closed to within four before the Thunder stiffened just enough to grab a 101-92 win on the first night of a back-to-back.
Davis wound up with a game-high 37, plus 15 rebounds; Hield’s 4-7 stroke from downtown helped him to a team-high plus-9. In fact, Hield was about the only one hitting from the 3-point line; the Pelicans were a less-than-stunning 6-28, and the Thunder, who didn’t hit any at all in the first half, wound up with, yes, a less-than-stunning 6-28.
If there had been a second question for the night, perhaps it would have been “Does Russell Westbrook get another triple-double?” Yes, he does: 28-17-12, for his fifth in a row. Last time anyone did five in a row was 1987, a fellow named Jordan. (If you’re keeping count, it’s Other 29 Teams 6, Westbrook 5.) As usual, Enes Kanter led the bench with 17.
Tomorrow night in Atlanta, which will be not only tiring in the usual manner of back-to-backs, but which will start half an hour early by Oklahoma City standings: 6:30 pm Central. Westbrook put in 37 minutes and change. Let’s hope he can sleep on the plane.