Entering Wednesday, life was good for the Oklahoma City Thunder. OKC entered the day the best in the West, winners in four of their last five games and having only suffered one loss to teams with a sub .500 record.
Enter a struggling Pelicans team who had alternated wins and losses the last six times out and who was hoping to take a big step forward towards the playoffs sitting at 14-15 on the season.
Dennis Schroder was magnificent early in this one. Schroder managed to get Julius Randle on skates for an impressive jumper. Everything was going right for him too. He managed to drain a three, inadvertently, while trying to toss an alley-oop to Hami Diallo. The Thunder trailed by one at the half in a game that was pretty tight throughout.
However, the biggest issue for OKC was Anthony Davis. He dominated the paint en route to a season high 44 points and 18 boards. It seemed as if every time the Thunder did something, New Orleans had an answer. The Thunder didn't go quietly, though.
Trailing by as many as nine in the fourth, OKC made a furious rally late. Russell Westbrook got a steal and a layup to pull OKC within five. Westbrook finished with 20 points, seven assists and six rebounds.
On the next possession, Paul George got loose off another turnover, hit a layup plus the foul. The Thunder trailed by just two after George hit his foul shot. That was a problem for OKC in this contest. They shot just 63% from the stripe. George, the MVP candidate, finished with 25.
After another stop, Russell Westbrook, with ten seconds left, lost control of the ball and had to settle for what would've been a lead taking three pointer but missed.
Julius Randle had a chance to really balloon the lead, but he missed both his free throws and OKC was back in business. This time Westbrook drove and kicked to Alex Abrines who had a decent look at three, but couldn't get it to drop and the Thunder dropped a close one 118-114 after some Pelican free throws.
The Thunder had a lot of good looks from distance in this game, but shot a meager 30 percent going 13 of 43 from deep. OKC also had 18 turnovers to 23 assists.
The Thunder try to regroup Friday when they square off with the Denver Nuggets on the road.