OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma City Thunder held a moment of silence for assistant coach Monty Williams’ wife before their game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night, a day after she died following a car crash.
Williams coached New Orleans last season, and the Pelicans also held a moment of silence for Ingrid Williams before their game Wednesday night against Utah.
The family’s pastor, Dr. Mark Hitchcock of Faith Bible Church in Edmond prayed for the family.
Thunder star Kevin Durant was overcome with emotion as he reflected after the morning shootaround.
“Just love Coach Monty so much, man,” Durant said. “I feel for him, man. It’s somebody we all love.”
Thunder coach Billy Donovan said it would be different Thursday without Williams to his right, but the team had no choice but to prepare for the game.
“I thought our group this morning was as good as it could be coming in,” Donovan said. “Everybody, I think, personally, is hurting for Monty and his family. Just trying to have faith right now that Ingrid is in a better place, and hopeful that our guys will come out there and play to the best of their ability.”
Ingrid Williams, 44, was involved in a crash Tuesday night. An oncoming car crossed the center line and hit her SUV just outside of downtown Oklahoma City, said police Capt. Paco Valderrama. That driver was pronounced dead at the scene, Valderrama said.
Monty Williams was hired by New Orleans to his first and only head coaching job in 2010 and fired after last season. He helped guide the Pelicans to the postseason twice and had a record of 173-221.
Pelicans star Anthony Davis spent three seasons with Williams as his coach and said Ingrid Williams was important, too. He said in a tweet: “Completely devastated. Ingrid Williams was like a 2nd mother to me when I got to NOLA. My thoughts & prayers are with Monty & the family.”
First-year Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said Ingrid’s impact was significant. It really affected his team as it prepared for its game Wednesday night, and the players were still dealing with it Thursday.
“It was really difficult for our guys to get through it because he (Monty Williams) has had such an impact on the players, and she had even more of an impact, maybe, with the mothering that she did for most of the guys and the type of person that she was,” Gentry said. “She wanted everybody to feel like they had a home away from home.”