Thunder control play from start to finish in win over Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans were severely short-handed Saturday evening.
The result was predictable.
The Pelicans came up short, well short in a 106-93 loss to Oklahoma City at Smoothie King Center.
In a manner of speaking, the Pelicans played giveaway as their own worst enemy.
When you commit 22 turnovers resulting in 23 points by your opponent, your chances of winning an NBA game are slim and none and the Pelicans nearly had a chance.
Oklahoma City controlled play from the outset. The last lead for New Orleans was at 6-5.
The Thunder took a 32-22 lead after one quarter and broke it open at 63-44 at halftime. It was 87-72 going to the fourth quarter. New Orleans was able to get within nine points in the final frame but got no closer.
Oklahoma City controlled things inside, outscoring New Orleans 48-36 in the paint.
The Pelicans had beaten Oklahoma City in the previous three meetings between the two teams.
As a result, the Thunder moved into a tie with the Pelicans at 32-35 in the Western Conference.
With newly signed New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr and his family courtside, the Pelicans needed a quarterback on the floor.
CJ McCollum did his best, scoring 26 points with eight assists and seven rebounds. Trey Murphy and Naji Marshall each scored 15 points.
The Pelicans did very little well.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was a dominant force with 35 points for the Thunder.
There is no rest for the depleted Pelicans, who must play again Sunday against Portland, another team they are battling with to try to get to the play-in level of the playoffs. Will Brandon Ingram return after not playing against Oklahoma City?
With Utah winning Saturday night, the Pelicans have fallen out of the top 10, which is where you need to be to make the postseason. New Orleans is now 11th and the Blazers are just a game behind New Orleans in the standings with 15 games to go for the Pelicans in what has turned out to be a disappointing season.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…