In most areas, Kevin Durant was his typical self on Thursday night, pouring in 25 points, grabbing six rebounds and controlling the game during his 32 minutes.
But in brief stretches, particularly early in the game, he was sloppy with the ball, committing six turnovers, with most leading to easy Pelican points.
“The thing that bit us was the turnovers,” Durant said after the loss. “I put that all on me. Six of them is unacceptable.”
But in truth, it was a team-wide problem, with the Thunder committing a preseason-high 21 on Thursday.
“The ball was a little sticky and wasn't quickly moved like the last couple weeks,” Scott Brooks said. “That's something we have to continue to talk about.”
GOMES PLAYS WELL IN DEBUT
Ryan Gomes, the Thunder's most noteworthy free agent pickup in a quiet offseason, didn't see the court in the first three preseason games.
But on Thursday in Tulsa, he was the first sub off the bench. Gomes impressed in extended first-half work, scoring 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting — including 3-of-3 from deep — in just 13 minutes.
He didn't see the court in the second half.
PELICANS LOADED WITH YOUNG TALENT
In a stacked Western Conference filled with contenders, the New Orleans Pelicans are somewhat of an afterthought expected to fight with plenty of suitors for one of the bottom two playoff seeds.
But their young roster has been extremely impressive in the preseason, winning all five games, including wins over the Rockets, Mavericks and now Thunder.
“They're a good team,” Brooks said. “They've got shooters all over the floor. They've got guys that can rebound, bigs that can stretch you out and make plays.”
On Thursday, second-year forward Anthony Davis led the way, scoring 18 points and six rebounds. He had plenty of help from Eric Gordon (21 points), Al-Farouq Aminu (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Ryan Anderson (18 points, six rebounds).
Late in the first half, as Thunder center Hasheem Thabeet tried to get out and contest a three, he ran squarely into the chest of Pelicans center Greg Stiemsma.
Neither of the 7-footers seemed to take kindly to the physical play, leading to a brief shoving match and quick double-technicals for each.
It's the second straight Thunder preseason game with a midgame tussle, as Denver's Nate Robinson was ejected on Tuesday night for throwing a quick forearm shiver at OKC's Steven Adams.
STAT OF THE GAME: 3-POINT SHOOTING
In the first three preseason games, non-Kevin Durant Thunder players were a combined 5-of-41 from 3-point range. On Thursday, they went an impressive 9-of-17.