Pelicans reload for Thunder after blowout
The New Orleans Pelicans let their most recent game slip through their fingers, losing 118-116 in overtime to Indiana on Monday night.
There was no danger of that happening in the Pelicans' previous meeting with Oklahoma City, though, as they rolled to a 113-80 victory on New Year's Eve.
The Pelicans have a rematch with the visiting Thunder on Wednesday night as they try to get past the loss to Indiana.
A Lonzo Ball turnover led to a tying 3-pointer that completed a 10-0 Pacers run and sent the game into overtime. New Orleans turned the ball over 18 times and was outscored 22-13 on points off of turnovers.
"We just have to get better with the ball," coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We have some games where we take care of the ball. When we do, we play well and win. When we don't, we struggle. A lot of that is just individual guys making better plays and being more solid with the ball."
The Pelicans didn't make a field goal in the final three-plus minutes of the fourth quarter.
Brandon Ingram scored 31 points, including the Pelicans' first six in overtime, but New Orleans couldn't keep up. Malcolm Brogdon scored the winning basket on a 12-foot floater with 3.6 seconds left to give Indiana the two-point victory.
Ingram also led the Pelicans in their victory over the Thunder, scoring 20 points even though he was ejected in the third quarter on a flagrant foul.
Former OKC center Steven Adams had 14 points and 10 rebounds in his first game against his former team.
"It's all good," Adams said of the turnovers. "We're getting there."
OKC, which lost 118-90 at Miami on Monday, will try to fare as well in this rematch as it did early in the season.
The Thunder bounced back from a 118-107 loss to Orlando on Dec. 29 to beat the Magic 108-99 on Jan. 2.
OKC coach Mark Daigneault said day-by-day improvement is the focus for his team.
"It's just about chipping away, working with the guys individually, working with the team, and just trying to make marginal gains and trying to make progress," Daigneault said. "It's just, how do we use these games to make progress with our team?
"We're trying to do that every single day, and then we put our best foot forward again tomorrow. Then we evaluate that and just keep that feedback loop going throughout the course of a long season."
But the Thunder saw a four-point deficit against Miami turn into a blowout after the Heat made a 20-0 third-quarter run.
Guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander attributed the run to "miscommunication and not bringing that energy defensively."
"Against a team like this," Gilgeous-Alexander added, "they'll make you pay for it every time, and they did."
Daigneault sat his starters for the fourth quarter. "We want to be a team that plays 48 minutes," he said.
This is the third game of a five-game road trip for the Thunder and the third game of a four-game homestand for the Pelicans.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 5, 2021