Once Again, OKC Loses Double-Digit Lead For Ninth Loss

By: A. Suave Francisco

The Oklahoma City Thunder entered Monday night's game at the Smoothie King Center hoping they'd leave with their first Western Conference road victory of the season. 

That aspiration looked like it may come to fruition until DeMarcus Cousins got ejected from the game after elbowing Russell Westbrook in the face for a flagrant two. After that, the momentum weirdly shifted in favor of the New Orleans Pelicans, who capitalized and ended up defeating the Thunder 114-107. 

This has been an ongoing narrative for the thunder to start games quickly and that's what they did against the Pelicans, jumping out to a 25-6 lead early on. However, New Orleans cut that 19-point lead relatively rapidly down to nine points to narrow OKC's lead to 9 by the end of the first quarter. Still cutting at OKC's lead, the Pelicans maintained their run, which ended up being 27-10, to make the score 35-33 early in the second quarter. Shortly after, they overtook the Thunder for the lead. 

A surge for Oklahoma City in the final five minutes of the half ensured a comfortable 65-57 lead going into halftime, which is the most points scored in a half by the Thunder. 

The Thunder clung onto a two-possession lead for half of the third quarter but at the five-minute mark, DeMarcus Cousins was called for a flagrant two, resulting in an ejection after throwing an elbow at Russell Westbrook following a defensive rebound. Ironically, this created a spark for the Pelicans crowd, and subsequently, their team. A little over two-and-a-half minutes later, the Pelicans regained their lead and seemed to be in control from that moment on. 

During the final quarter, the Thunder were playing catch up, which is a familiar position for them this season. With Andre Roberson on the bench, the Thunder couldn't seem to stop Anthony Davis and the Pelicans. Also, the Thunder scored just 21 points in the final quarter, seemingly, not being able to get anything done offensively. 

Things won't get any easier for OKC as they face the (13-4) Golden State Warriors on Wednesday evening. Luckily for OKC, the game will be at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Kevin Durant is questionable to play against his former team due to an ankle sprain. The Thunder are now (7-9) on the season. 

Extra facts:

  • Russell Westbrook shot 1-of-10 in the second half. 
  • The Thunder have let go of a double-digit lead during six of their nine losses. 
  • New Orleans scored 58 points in the paint versus 36 from Oklahoma City Thunder. 
  • Carmelo Anthony scored 19 points on 7-of-19 shooting, including 2-of-9 from three-point range. 
  • Paul George is now leading the NBA in steals per game with 2.25 per game. He finished the game with 26 points and 5 steals. 
  • Russell Westbrook recorded his fifth triple-double of the season with 22 points, 16 rebounds, and 12 assists. 
A. Suave FranciscoComment