The Oklahoma City Thunder are on a hot streak picking up a fifth-straight win on Monday night defeating the New Orleans Pelicans 122-116.
A fifth consecutive win is something worth celebrating, but Thunder fans were shaken up when Russell Westbrook went down with a sprained left ankle at the 4:25 mark of the third quarter. Westbrook was carried off the floor and into the locker room where he remained for the rest of the game.
“I think we can all say it’s unfortunate,” Paul George said during postgame. “For as bad as it was, we’re just happy it wasn’t the knee, and it was just an ankle sprain. We had to finish and close out the game for him.”
The Thunder went on a 16-4 run to close out the third quarter, and despite the Pelicans pulling it within four points in the final seconds of the game, a pair of free throws from Dennis Schroder helped to push the Thunder ahead enough to secure this win and give the Pelicans their sixth straight loss of the season.
- The Thunder bench should give Thunder fans plenty of reason to breathe easier, even when a star like Russell Westbrook goes out with an injury. This Thunder bench has been phenomenal over the past five wins, and the bench was able to shoot 70.6 percent through three quarters alone tonight. Players like Patrick Patterson, who went 3-3 from behind the arc tonight, Dennis Schroder, who finished with 22 points, and Alex Abrines, who has been getting great looks from 3, have stepped up when needed, and have delivered to bring the Thunder this winning streak.
- Jerami Grant belongs in the starting lineup. His confidence level has skyrocketed since being named a starter, and it shows in his playing. From his massive performance in Washington D.C. to his strength and agility fighting off Pelicans players like Anthony Davis and Nicola Mirotic has made a powerful player on the court and a major threat to opponents on offense. His defense gets better with each game, and he settles in nicely when other Thunder starters.
- The Thunder players are learning their individual roles more and more after going 0-4 to start the season. I think that was a major wakeup call for this team, and they’re worked out a lot of kinks, on offense especially, since picking up that fourth loss against Boston. Free throws are still a little shaky, but making smarter shots and keeping majority of the shots put up inside the paint has helped the Thunder secure wins and become a power unit on offense.
The Thunder will be on the road in Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers on Wednesday night before returning to Chesapeake Energy Arena on Thursday to host James Harden, Carmelo Anthony, and the Houston Rockets at 7 p.m.
Watch below for Thunder vs. Pelicans postgame wrap-up including locker room pressers from Paul George, Steven Adams, and Alex Abrines, plus the full postgame presser from Billy Donovan.
Billy Donovan Postgame Presser FULL:
Paul George FULL: