Down 3-0 in the season series, the New Orleans Pelicans came to Oklahoma City with a chip on their collective shoulder and a new non-secret weapon: DeMarcus Cousins, recently arrived from Sacramento. Cousins is as surly as ever — the only NBA player so far this season to be suspended for too many technicals, he got T’d up once more tonight. Not that anyone noticed, there being six other techs tonight. And it was a close one, the Birds up three after the first quarter, a 59-all tie at the half, the Thunder up three after the third. Cousins proved to be as wily as ever, drawing double- and even triple-teams, leaving superstar forward Anthony Davis all alone to knock ’em down. And knock ’em down Davis did. Still, things were fierce going both ways, and both Cousins and Andre Roberson wound up getting broomed after six fouls, which didn’t make the windup any quieter; it took an even hairier than usual performance from Russell Westbrook — 41 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists — to finally put away the Pels, 118-110. Of those 41 points, 21 came in the fourth quarter.
Before Cousins fouled out — Westbrook, of course, drew that foul — he’d rung up 31 points, including 15 of 15 from the stripe. Davis went 15-28 for 38 points. Didn’t leave much for the other Pelicans, but such is the way of the team with two very strong players. (Like, for instance, the Thunder through last season.) Enes Kanter was much closer to form, with 20 points and 9 boards; Steven Adams did the double-double with 13-10. And there were a lot of free throws: 37 on either side, with New Orleans bagging 30, the Thunder 28.
Tuesday night, the Jazz, who lead the Northwest Division by three games, will come to OKC. Anything can happen in Thunder-Jazz, and more often than not, it will. Just you wait.