OKC Thunder: Patchwork Pelicans stun Thunder

The Thunder still had something to play for.

But for whatever reason, Oklahoma City never played like it Monday night in New Orleans.

The end result was a shocking one, a 101-89 defeat to the depleted Pelicans inside Smoothie King Arena.

by Darnell Mayberry Published: April 14, 2014
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NEW ORLEANS — The Thunder still had something to play for.

But for whatever reason, Oklahoma City never played like it Monday night in New Orleans.

The end result was a shocking one, a 101-89 defeat to the depleted Pelicans inside Smoothie King Arena.

It’s a loss that prevented OKC from clinching the 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Unless the Los Angeles Clippers lose Tuesday at home against Denver, the Thunder will now walk into its season finale against Detroit needing to take the Pistons more serious than it did the Pelicans.

Despite missing their top four scorers, and six of their top seven, due to injuries, the Pelicans pieced together four quality quarters that allowed them to hang with the Thunder throughout. And when they sensed the Thunder couldn’t take control, the Pelicans pounced, outscoring OKC 56-43 in the second half to snap an eight-game losing streak and secure a much-needed, feel-good victory before season’s end.

Tyreke Evans stepped in as the latest perimeter player to feast on the Thunder’s wildly erratic defense. He scored 32 of his career-high 41 points in the second half, joining Lakers guard Jodie Meeks and Suns guard Gerald Green on the list of opponents who have posted 40 or more on the Thunder since the All-Star break.

“We don’t make no excuses,” said Kevin Durant. “They just beat us. They got whatever they wanted on the offensive end, and it felt like we were just out of it.”

Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook did not play while resting his surgically repaired right knee on the second night of a back-to-back. Without him, the Thunder displayed little fire or emotion as fringe players, cast offs and D-League signees combined to take control of the game.

“We didn’t play well,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “Give them credit. They have guys banged up. But the coaching staff’s done a good job. They’ve had injuries all year, but they still fight.”

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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