NEW ORLEANS (AP) Russell Westbrook’s left-handed, inside-out dribble wrong-footed Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, creating an open lane for a driving layup. That was one of many scoring highlights for the Oklahoma City star, who sometimes looked like he could have outscored New Orleans by himself.
He didn’t have to, though, thanks to a reserve unit led by rookie Alex Abrines that extended leads while Westbrook was resting on the bench.
Westbrook had 42 points and 10 rebounds while Abrines hit five 3s and finished with a career-best 18 points as the Thunder beat the Pelicans 121-110 on Wednesday night.
”We did a great job of just playing together,” Westbrook said. ”It was great, man, to come in (during the fourth quarter) with everything under control. (We) did a great job of managing the game.”
Abrines scored nine points during a pivotal 11-0 run early in the fourth quarter. The surge gave the Thunder a 100-87 lead with 9:18 left, and New Orleans never got within eight points after that.
The 23-year-old shooting guard from Spain, who’d previously reached 10 points only once this season, said he could tell he was shooting well and gaining confidence.
”You get those feelings when you knock down a couple 3s and you’re hot,” Abrines said. ”You just receive the ball and you let it fly. You know it’s going in.”
Enes Kanter, who hit a hook shot during that spurt, finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds.
”We just couldn’t get them stopped at all,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said of the Thunder, who scored 56 points inside and outrebounded New Orleans 49-34. ”Their inside play I thought hurt us.”
Anthony Davis had 34 points and 15 rebounds for New Orleans. Holiday added 23 points and 10 assists, and Terrence Jones scored 21 points for the Pelicans, who’ve lost nine of 12.