breaking: Two tribes face opposition in requests to participate in lawsuit over gaming compactsCollege football openers: Not a great slate in 2020

NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

Five takeaways from the Thunder's 123-118 win at New Orleans

The Thunder  beat the Pelicans 123-118 Thursday at the Smoothie King Center, snapping a two-game losing streak just before the All-Star break. 

OKC forward Danilo Gallinari scored nine consecutive points down the stretch to give the Thunder a 117-114 lead with 2:21 on the clock. His clutch shooting was a part of a team-high 29-point performance. 

The Thunder extended its road winning streak to eight games, tying a Thunder record. It swept the regular season series against the Pelicans 4-0. Here are five takeaways from the game:

Guarding Zion

Gallianri began the game guarding rookie phenom Zion Williamson. Gallinari is much better known for his offense than his defense, but he at least had a height advantage on 6-foot-6, 285-pound Williamson.

So did most of the defenders Thunder coach Billy Donovan put on Williamson. The one exception was Abdel Nader, who played backup power forward in place of Darius Bazley (right knee bone bruise).

Centers Steven Adams, Nerlens Noel and Mike Muscala also took their turns guarding Williamson. The Thunder put an emphasis on limiting him at the rim. Williamson made four 3-pointers in his debut, but he has not made one in nine games since.

On Thursday, Williamson scored a game-high 32 points on 11-of-19 shooting.

Foul trouble

Thunder guard Dennis Schroder picked up his third foul with 4:26 left in the first half. He stepped into the landing space of Lonzo Ball, and after a review it was called a Flagrant 1 foul. Schroder was also called for a clear path foul earlier in the quarter.

But it wasn’t just Schroder. The Thunder sent the Pelicans to the line 27  times, 20 of which came in the first half. Williamson scored 10 of his 32 points on free throws.

Even Thunder coach Billy Donovan got in on the action. With 3.3 seconds left in the first half, Donovan picked up a technical foul for arguing a foul call as Williamson headed to the line.

Adams’s first 3 

It was fitting that Steven Adams’ first made 3-pointer would be one-handed.

The Thunder center who has been throwing one-handed inbound passes across the court all season put that skill to use as the buzzer rang in halftime in New Orleans Thursday. But this time, his target wasn’t a teammate. It was the 18-inch ring at the other end of the court.

From the edge of the New Orleans logo, Adams palmed the basketball and stepped into a baseball throw. Against all odds, the ball flew across ¾ of the court and through the hoop.

 The Thunder bench cleared. Steven Adams shimmied across halftcourt. The Thunder took a 66-58 lead. And Adams logged the first made 3-pointer of his career.

On to All-Star

Before heading to Chicago for All-Star weekend, Chris Paul tied his season high in assists (12). The 10-time All-Star also added 14 points and eight rebounds.

Two of Paul's assists came in the midst of a 14-0 run for the Thunder. OKC had extra floor spacing power with  Gallinari and Muscala on the floor at the same time, and Paul took advantage of it. He set up Muscala for two 3-pointers in as many minutes.

Fastbreak battle 

The Thunder took the Pelicans’ pace-pushing advantage and turned it on its head.

The Pelicans entered the game ranked No. 5 in fast break points per game (16.5). The Thunder was dead last in the NBA, with 9.1 per game.

But the two teams reversed roles on Thursday. OKC outscored New Orleans 19-10 on the fast break.


Related Photos
Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) celebrates a basket from half-court against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) celebrates a basket from half-court against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b8c211ea418758fe75d3abb33b0880fa.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) celebrates a basket from half-court against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)" title="Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) celebrates a basket from half-court against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)"><figcaption>Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) celebrates a basket from half-court against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-8aeae87732e40ec6d40d854dcf4e91c9.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul (3) shoots over New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday (11) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)" title="Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul (3) shoots over New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday (11) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)"><figcaption>Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul (3) shoots over New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday (11) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-881334dcdc0281c5689d477e78bff34a.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul (3) shoots next to New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Hart (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)" title="Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul (3) shoots next to New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Hart (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)"><figcaption>Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul (3) shoots next to New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Hart (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-eac7141b13c05d6dfc63653f47b67655.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan argues a call during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)" title="Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan argues a call during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)"><figcaption>Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan argues a call during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a8b863969cea96c3b81e7e3e8338bb42.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City Thunder center Nerlens Noel (9) shoots over New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Hart (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)" title="Oklahoma City Thunder center Nerlens Noel (9) shoots over New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Hart (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)"><figcaption>Oklahoma City Thunder center Nerlens Noel (9) shoots over New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Hart (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-1a7c14255c9bed88959f2115e8006844.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari (8) goes up for a dunk next to New Orleans Pelicans center Derrick Favors (22) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)" title="Oklahoma City Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari (8) goes up for a dunk next to New Orleans Pelicans center Derrick Favors (22) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)"><figcaption>Oklahoma City Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari (8) goes up for a dunk next to New Orleans Pelicans center Derrick Favors (22) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-baa0c9e7386b08edc8fb5e07fed4352d.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City Thunder forward Abdel Nader (11) shoots next to New Orleans Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes (10), right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)" title="Oklahoma City Thunder forward Abdel Nader (11) shoots next to New Orleans Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes (10), right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)"><figcaption>Oklahoma City Thunder forward Abdel Nader (11) shoots next to New Orleans Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes (10), right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-8aeae87732e40ec6d40d854dcf4e91c9.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul (3) shoots over New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday (11) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)" title="Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul (3) shoots over New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday (11) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)"><figcaption>Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul (3) shoots over New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday (11) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b8c211ea418758fe75d3abb33b0880fa.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) celebrates a basket from half-court against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)" title="Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) celebrates a basket from half-court against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)"><figcaption>Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) celebrates a basket from half-court against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-881334dcdc0281c5689d477e78bff34a.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul (3) shoots next to New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Hart (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)" title="Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul (3) shoots next to New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Hart (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)"><figcaption>Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul (3) shoots next to New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Hart (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c0b5223d0a1ec1427261af20868329e7.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) celebrates a basket from half-court against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)" title="Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) celebrates a basket from half-court against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)"><figcaption>Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) celebrates a basket from half-court against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c6b13163df289d66fc51dc1db4caf560.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) celebrates a basket from half-court against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)" title="Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) celebrates a basket from half-court against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)"><figcaption>Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) celebrates a basket from half-court against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-89eb5a99fddd0035b5a66139f94ce75a.jpg" alt="Photo - New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Hart (3) celebrates a 3-point basket against Oklahoma City Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari (8) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)" title="New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Hart (3) celebrates a 3-point basket against Oklahoma City Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari (8) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)"><figcaption>New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Hart (3) celebrates a 3-point basket against Oklahoma City Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari (8) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)</figcaption></figure>
Maddie Lee

Maddie Lee followed an NBA team from Seattle to Oklahoma City, she just took a 10-year detour in between. Lee joined the Oklahoman in October 2018 as a Thunder beat writer, fresh off a stint in Oxford, Miss., where she covered Ole Miss for the... Read more ›

Comments