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New Orleans 28 35 23 30 116
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5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CTNaN:� , November 5, 2018
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma  Attendance: 18,203

Pelicans try to get back on track at Thunder

According to STATS
According to STATS

New Orleans Pelicans at Oklahoma City Thunder

  1. The Pelicans have lost five straight after starting the season 4-0. Anthony Davis missed three of those losses -- since last season, New Orleans has gone 49-32 (.605) with Davis playing compared to 3-7 (.300) without him.
  2. The Thunder have won four straight after dropping their first four games this season. After topping 115 points just once in its first four games, Oklahoma City has scored at least that many in three of its last four. Since last season, the Thunder have gone 22-4 (.846) when scoring at least 115 points.
  3. New Orleans went 2-1 against Oklahoma City last season, winning once at home and once on the road. Prior to last season, the Thunder had won six of seven against the Pelicans (dating back to 2015-16).
  4. Nikola Mirotic is averaging 22.4 points this season, pulling down 10.9 rebounds per game and making an average of 2.6 three-pointers. Blake Griffin is the only other player averaging at least 22.0 points and 10.0 rebounds while making at least 2.5 threes per game.
  5. Russell Westbrook is shooting 50.4 percent through six games this season. Prior to this stretch, Westbrook had never opened a season shooting 50.0 percent or better through his first six games.
  6. Oklahoma City ranks second in the NBA with 29.6 free throws attempted per game, while New Orleans is right behind, ranking third with 29.3 attempts per game. The Thunder commit the most personal fouls per game at 25.8, while the Pelicans rank third, committing 24.7 per game.

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Nothing went right for the Oklahoma City Thunder over the season's first 10 days.

The Thunder started 0-4, losing thanks to poor shooting, spotty defense and Russell Westbrook being unavailable for the first two games and working his way back into shape in the next two.

The start for the New Orleans Pelicans was the opposite, with Anthony Davis looking like a Most Valuable Player candidate en route to a 4-0 start.

But since those first four games, the teams' fortunes reversed, with the Thunder winning four consecutive games and the Pelicans dropping five straight.

On Monday, the teams meet at Chesapeake Energy Arena with Oklahoma City trying to continue its turnaround and New Orleans doing its best to swing its fortunes back in a positive direction.

"We're trying to get grand slams when all we need to do is hit singles," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told reporters after Saturday's loss in San Antonio. "We need to just move the basketball and let the game come to us and stop trying to force the issue. We've done that the last few games. We have to get back to being who we are."

Davis hasn't played in three of the five losses during the streak, returning from a sprained right elbow Saturday and playing in 40 minutes.

That helps, but Gentry said New Orleans' problems go deeper than Davis' absence.

"We're a good basketball team when we move the basketball," Gentry said. "We had 70 assists in the first two games and now all of a sudden we've gone away from moving the ball and making simple plays and that's what we've got to get back to."

The Pelicans have been without guard Elfrid Payton, who is suffering from a sprained ankle, for all five of those games.

All but the first of New Orleans' five consecutive losses have come on the road, with Monday's game wrapping up one of the Pelicans' longest road swings of the year.

The Thunder return home after a two-game road swing with wins at Charlotte and Washington.

During this winning streak, Oklahoma City is outscoring opponents by 13 points per 100 possessions, third-best in the league in that stretch.

Unsurprisingly, Westbrook has helped key the Thunder's charge, shooting 50.4 percent from the field -- and attempting an average of fewer than two 3-pointers per game -- during the current winning streak.

He's also averaging just 3.8 turnovers per game, which would be his lowest total since 2013-14. Westbrook has had just seven turnovers combined in the last three games, his lowest total during a three-game stretch since December of last year.

Thunder coach Billy Donovan said his bench has also been critical to the turnaround, with Alex Abrines and Denis Schroder combining for 46 points against Charlotte on Thursday and the group as a whole playing strong defense in Friday's win.

"The biggest thing for me with them is just we need to be consistent defensively," Donovan said of his reserves. "If we're consistent defensively, that's usually a good place for us to start where we can build off of that."

Updated November 4, 2018

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