The key stretch in this one came on either side of halftime.
With the game tied at 52 with 31 seconds left in the first half, Westbrook and Reggie Jackson nailed a pair of threes, giving OKC a sudden six-point lead heading into the break.
“That was huge,” Durant said. “We practice that (2-for-1) all the time. Russell did a good job getting it out of his hands and then Reggie was sitting there wide open and made a big shot as well.”
Then, in the third quarter — a spot where OKC has struggled mightily lately, particularly in Wednesday's loss at Portland when it was outscored 35-21 — the Thunder held the Pelicans to 16 points and stretched the lead to 12.
“We talked about that when we broke our halftime talk,” Brooks said. “We had to come out with a better third-quarter defensive stand. And we did.”
And now, with a productive 2-1 road trip out of the way, it's on to Sunday and an intriguing home matchup with the 17-2 Indiana Pacers.