NBA News Wire
Davis scores 38 as Pelicans pass Thunder
OKLAHOMA CITY — Most times coaches want their athletes to have short memories. Whether it is a great game or bad loss, as soon as the next day arrives, players need to move on.
However, New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis has not developed the short-term memory trick yet, his coach Monty Williams is glad.
Coming off one of his worse games of the season in a 26-point loss Saturday, Davis posted 38 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Pelicans to a 101-99 victory win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
“Last night, he took it personal,” Williams said, referring to New Orleans’ loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. “He thought it was his fault. We had a conversation about how it’s never your fault. It’s about our team, but you come back tomorrow and do your thing.”
The Pelicans (14-13) held onto eighth place in the Western Conference standings. Playing without forward Kevin Durant, the Thunder (13-15) lost for the second time in three games.
Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook needed 27 shots to score 29 points. He finished with eight assists and six turnovers.
“When we won eight in a row, nobody said nothing about not passing, so I don’t want to hear it now,” Westbrook said. “It’s one game, so I’m not ’bout to keep answering questions about me not passing now when we lose.”
With 4:53 left in the fourth quarter, Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans cut the Thunder’s lead to 97-96. New Orleans came up with a defensive stop, and Davis scored on the other end to put the Pelicans in front 99-97 with a three-point play.
Westbrook tied the contest with a driving layup over Davis, but Davis soon responded with a dunk off a Westbrook turnover.
For a two-minute stretch, Westbrook tried to do it all, and he racked up turnover after turnover as the Pelicans led 101-99.
“He had a couple of tough moments,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “There is no question. I thought he had an opportunity to keep attacking and get a chance to get to the free-throw line. He missed some shots he’s made all year and a couple of passes he had to hit.”
Westbrook missed a 3-point attempt with 34 seconds left and the Pelicans ahead by two, and Davis got the rebound. However, New Orleans committed a shot-clock violation, and Oklahoma City took over with 10 seconds left.
After a timeout, the Thunder got the ball into Westbrook’s hands. The star guard dribbled to the top of the key and shot a contested 3-pointer. It was off the mark as the buzzer sounded.
“My job is to stay in attack mode and try and score and try and make plays happen,” Westbrook said. “If I miss, then I miss. I’m going to live and die by that every night, regardless of what happens.”
Thunder reserve guard Reggie Jackson scored 19 points. Center Steven Adams and forward Perry Jones each scored 12 points.
Forward Ryan Anderson scored 14 points and shot 3-for-9 from 3-point range for New Orleans. Pelicans guard Jru Holiday added 11 points and 15 assists. However, the entire New Orleans squad knew the team’s fortunes rode with their 21-year-old superstar.
“When we start losing, start missing shots, start getting frustrated, I start being selfish, so all of that was on me,” Davis said. “So I told them tonight I’m going to go back to how I play, how we play, and that’s what I tried to do tonight.”
NOTES: Oklahoma City F Kevin Durant sat out a second consecutive game after spraining his right ankle Thursday in Golden State. “Don’t know how long he’s out,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “He’s day-to-day. Feeling better today.” F Perry Jones started in Durant’s place. … Pelicans F Anthony Davis was the only player in the NBA ranked in the top five through Saturday in scoring (24.1 ppg), field-goal percentage (.571) and blocks (2.92). … The Thunder recalled F Grant Jerrett from the Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA Development League. He did not play Sunday night. … Pelicans coach Monty Williams said G Tyreke Evans is adapting to a different role. “I think he’s more comfortable at the one-two,” Williams said. “With the way the roster is set up, there are times he has to guard bigger wing players. But offensively, he still plays the two-one, no matter what. I think defensively it can be a challenge for him. That’s how our team is set up, and he has to sacrifice some things.”
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