It was a somber night for Thunder and Pelicans fans alike. The loss of assistant coach (and former Pelicans coach) Monty Williams’s wife, Ingrid, was the proverbial elephant in the room.
It’s hard to think of grown men playing a children’s game when life and death are brought into the fold. An emotional Kevin Durant was unable to answer a question about the loss earlier in the day.
Perhaps the best antidote, though, is carrying on with jobs as normal, and that’s just what the Thunder did in their 121-95 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jrue Holiday, and Anthony Davis all led in scoring at 23.
Russell Westbrook was just one rebound away from another triple-double, adding 10 assists and 9 rebounds to his 23 point output.
Alvin Gentry, head coach of the Pelicans (and assistant to last year’s champs the Warriors) thinks the Thunder will be title contenders: “This team’s playing extremely well,” he said. “I know they had a tough loss against Golden State (last Saturday), but I think they’re playing really good basketball, and I think, obviously, they’re going to be a huge factor.”
The Thunder improve to 40-14, while the Pelicans fall to 20-33. Next up for the Thunder is the All-Star game, featuring Durant and Westbrook as starters.