Lu Dort scored 27 points, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 24 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the reeling New Orleans Pelicans 108-100 on Wednesday night for the team's third straight victory.
Darius Bazley scored 14 points and Matt Muscala added 12, making all three 3-pointers he attempted.
Dort made nine of 10 free throws, his final three coming after Nickeil Alexander-Walker fouled him on the perimeter as the shot clock expired with 2:18 to go, giving Oklahoma City a 101-90 lead.
Jonas Valanciunas had 25 points and 15 rebounds for the Pelicans, who lost their eighth straight while falling to 1-11. Alexander-Walker scored 33 points and Devante Graham scored 18 for New Orleans, which entered the game without star players Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram and became further short-handed when veteran Josh Hart was ejected in the first half.
Still, the Pelicans led 67-65 in the third quarter after Graham fed Jaxson Hayes for a cutting dunk. The Thunder took over with a 20-4 run to close out the period.
Oklahoma City led by as many as 21 points when Kenrich Williams’ jumper made it 96-75 with 7:51 to go.
The Pelicans got as close as five points when Alexander-Walker, who scored 22 in the fourth quarter, made two free throws with 1:08 left, but Gilgeous-Alexander answered with a 9-foot pullup and the Pelicans did not threaten again.
The Pelicans led 39-31 after Kira Lewis Jr.’s dunk in the second quarter, but then started to unravel in more ways than one.
Consecutive layups by Josh Giddey initiated a 15-0 Thunder run during which the Pelicans were called for the first two of five technical fouls they were assessed in the period.
The surge was capped by a four-point possession in which Dort made a layup while being fouled by Hayes and Graham was assessed a technical foul.
Less than two minutes later, Hart lost his cool after being called for a foul as Dort jumped over his back to grab a rebound and both players crashed to the floor. Official Scott Foster assessed Hart a technical foul for arguing the call, and then ejected him with a second technical moments later as Hart continued angrily voicing his displeasure.
Gilgeous-Alexander hit both technical free throws, and then Dort hit his free throws, putting the Thunder up 51-44 en route to a 56-48 halftime lead.
Thunder: Rookie Josh Giddey, the sixth overall pick in last summer’s draft, had 12 rebounds, nine assists and seven points, frustrating New Orleans with a slew of hustle plays. ... Derrick Favors scored nine points in 21 minutes. ... The Thunder converted 10 Pelicans turnovers into 17 points.
Pelicans: Ingram, one of New Orleans’ top scorers the past two seasons, missed his sixth straight game with a bruised hip. “It’s more, he’s still feeling it,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said before tip-off. “So we don’t want to put him out there with him still feeling some pain. He does a really good job of just kind of being aware where he is as far as how his body feels. When the medical staff and Brandon feel like he’s a go then he’ll be a go. Until then, you just don’t want to rush him back.” ... The Pelicans fell to 0-5 at home. ... Converted 18 Thunder turnovers into 18 points.
Thunder: Host Sacramento on Friday night.
Pelicans: Host Brooklyn on Friday night.