The OKC Thunder held a big lead early but gave it away and never recovered.
The New Orleans Pelicans beat the OKC Thunder 110-106 in the first nationally televised game in Oklahoma Cityin more than three years. The OKC Thunder had a couple of chances to tie and take the lead in the closing seconds but could not convert.
Poor rebounding helps the OKC Thunder blow a big first-half lead and fall to the Pelicans.
The Pelicans’ offensive rebounding was a massive issue for the Thunder. Zion Williamson and Jonas Valanciunas played a significant role in the Pelicans outrebounding the Thunder by double digits, as their starting lineup combined for 42.
Williamson helped the Pelicans win with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists. CJ McCollum was instrumental to the Pelicans’ comeback and led them in scoring with 27 on 10-of-17 shooting.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a solid outing and tried to help Oklahoma City mount a late comeback. He finished with 20 points, eight assists and three steals.
The OKC Thunder held the Pelicans to 6-of-27 from beyond the arc in the first half but shot only 3-of-17 themselves. While the Thunder controlled the game for the entire half and led by as much as 21, the Pelicans made a 15-2 run to end the second quarter.
New Orleans continued its run into the third quarter and took its first lead of the game. With 20 offensive rebounds through three quarters, New Orleans was just one shy of the most any team has had in a game before Wednesday.
While Chet Holmgren struggled against the Pelicans’ size, the rookie still finished with a double-double. Holmgren had 19 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.
Olivier Sarr continued to play well in the absence of Jaylin Williams. A couple of blocks against Williamson and five rebounds helped him hold down the paint when Holmgren was off the court.
Josh Giddey got off to a much better start than he did against Detroit. In the Thunder’s 33-14 first quarter, Giddey went for 10 points and five rebounds on his way to 15 points and nine rebounds.
On Friday, the Thunder continue their homestand with the Golden State Warriors in their first In-Season Tournament game.