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NBA: Visiting Thunder ease past league-worst Pelicans

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Luguentz Dort scored 27 points and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 24 as the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the reeling New Orleans Pelicans 108-100 on Wednesday night.

Darius Bazley scored 14 and Mike Muscala had 12 off the bench for the Thunder.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker had 33 points and 10 rebounds and Jonas Valanciunas had his 10th straight double-double, finishing with 25 points and 15 rebounds, to lead the Pelicans, who lost their eighth consecutive game and maintained the NBA’s worst record. Devonte’ Graham added 18 points.

Oklahoma City held a 10-point lead early in the third quarter before Jaxson Hayes’ dunk completed a 17-5 run that gave New Orleans a 67-65 lead.

The Thunder quickly turned things back in their favor, finishing with a 20-4 run that gave them an 85-71 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Muscala scored five points and added an assist as Oklahoma City increased its lead to 96-75 with less than eight minutes remaining.

Alexander-Walker scored 11 points to help the Pelicans pull within 101-96 with 1:08 left, but Gilgeous-Alexander answered with a basket with 51 seconds left.

The Thunder, who saw the Spurs score the first nine points against them on Sunday, turned the tables by scoring the first eight points against the Pelicans.

Valanciunas scored New Orleans’ first seven points of the game, but Oklahoma City led by eight on four more occasions.

Graham made consecutive 3-pointers to help the Pelicans climb within one point.

The score was tied three times before Valanciunas’ three-point play helped give New Orleans a 29-28 lead at the end of the first quarter. Valanciunas and Graham combined for 22 points.

Valanciunas scored four points as the Pelicans extended their lead to 39-31.

Josh Giddey and Muscala scored four points each as the Thunder scored 15 unanswered points.

Hayes’ basket ended the run and New Orleans’ four-minute scoring drought.

Dort scored five points down the stretch as Oklahoma City took a 56-48 halftime lead.

Guard Josh Hart was ejected after receiving two of the Pelicans’ five technical fouls in the second quarter.

–Field Level Media

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