EditorsNote: tweaks headline ... last graf, removes duplicated reference to Wednesday
With Oklahoma City star point guard Russell Westbrook out in the second half with an ankle injury, Dennis Schroder scored nine consecutive Thunder points in the fourth quarter to help his team to a 122-116 win over the visiting New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night.
Schroder finished with a season-high 22 points off the bench — 16 in the second half — as the Thunder extended their winning streak to five after losing the season’s first four games.
It was New Orleans’ sixth consecutive loss after a 4-0 start. It’s the Pelicans’ longest losing streak since losing the first eight games of the 2016-17 season.
Schroder got his chance for a big finish after Westbrook twisted his left ankle with 4:25 remaining in the third quarter.
Westbrook rolled over and grabbed his left leg before slapping the floor in pain and frustration. Soon afterward, he went to the locker room, not putting any weight on the leg. He didn’t return and his status is unclear. Westbrook missed the season’s first two games following offseason knee surgery.
After Westbrook’s injury, the Thunder doubled what was a seven-point lead by the end of the third quarter.
But Oklahoma City made just two of its first 10 shots to start the fourth quarter as the Pelicans hit six of their first eight shots from the field, to cut the Thunder lead to six at 108-102.
Even with Schroder’s heroics, the Pelicans cut the lead to 118-116 in the final minute after Julius Randle’s corner 3-pointer with 23 seconds remaining.
Schroder followed by hitting two free throws, and Paul George pulled down a rebound and the Thunder kept its winning streak alive.
George led Oklahoma City with 23 points, going 4 of 10 from 3-point range. Randle led the Pelicans with 26 points, hitting all 10 of his field goals.
Jrue Holliday added 22 points and 14 assists while Anthony Davis scored 20. New Orleans starters were just 3 of 18 from 3-point range.
On Wednesday, the Thunder play at Cleveland, while the Pelicans host Chicago.
—Field Level Media