Reeling Pelicans up next for rolling Thunder
Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder are on a roll.
Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans are not.
Westbrook has had a triple-double in an NBA-record 10 consecutive games, and the Thunder have won four straight and 11 of 12 heading into their game at New Orleans on Thursday night.
Davis, who will join Westbrook in the All-Star game on Sunday in Charlotte, had just three points on 1-of-9 shooting and grabbed six rebounds in 24 minutes of the Pelicans' lackluster 118-88 home loss to Orlando on Tuesday.
Oklahoma City (37-19) is surging, and New Orleans (25-33) is plummeting as both teams enter their final game before the All-Star Break.
"I just go play the game the right way. I go out and compete every night and leave it on the floor," Westbrook said. "Whatever happens, happens."
While Westbrook's triple-doubles have become common place -- he broke Wilt Chamberlain's 51-year-old record for consecutive triple-doubles -- teammate Paul George chipped in his first triple-double in five years in the Thunder's last game, a 120-111 home victory against Portland on Monday.
George even surpassed Westbrook's performance (21 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists), racking up 47 points (18 in the fourth quarter), 12 rebounds and 10 assists.
As if the eye-popping numbers from the Thunder's two All-Star weren't enough, they also got significant contributions from a pair of unlikely sources.
With Jerami Grant (right ankle sprain) and Dennis Schroder (personal matter) unavailable, reserve point guard Raymond Felton, who hadn't played since Dec. 30, and rookie two-way player Deonte Burton took on bigger roles. Felton scored 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting, and Burton scored 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting.
"When your two superstars on your team are at that level and connected with each other like that, it's easy for everybody else to fall in suit," Felton said. "Their relationship trickles down to everybody else."
The Pelicans have lost and eight of their last 11 games, including two of three since Davis returned from a finger injury and the revelation that he has requested a trade.
New Orleans set new marks for its lowest point total of the season in each of its last two games and Tuesday's 30-point blowout represented the Pelicans' largest margin of defeat this season.
"We (stunk)," Davis said. "Nobody was interested in playing ... that's what it looked like. When you play like that against a team who is fighting for a (playoff) spot, you should expect that to happen."
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry has grown weary of answering questions about Davis' lame-duck status and its impact on the team.
"We need to put all of the other stuff behind us and try to win games," Gentry said. "Trying to compete, trying to get our young players better, that's all I want to do. That's it."
The Magic raced to a 36-9 lead and were never threatened after that. Davis had the second-lowest point total of his seven-year career in games in which he has played 20 or more minutes. He had two points in 20 minutes against Toronto as a rookie.
"I don't like what has happened the last few games we played," Gentry said. "We have to get ourselves back to where we're competing at a real high level and at least giving ourselves an opportunity."
--Field Level Media
Updated February 14, 2019