NEW ORLEANS (AP) Anthony Davis scored 30 points and blocked four shots, three Pelicans reserves combined for 60 points, and New Orleans beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, 123-119 on Thursday night.
Ryan Anderson scored 26 points in a little less than 26 minutes off the bench, while Jrue Holiday added 22 points, also in fewer than 26 minutes. Backup point guard Toney Douglas scored 12 points in 14 minutes, with 10 points coming in the fourth quarter.
Russell Westbrook scored 44 points and Kevin Durant 32 for Oklahoma City, which trailed by 12 with a little more than 3 minutes left but got as close as two on Durant’s 3 with 13 seconds left.
Holiday, who also had nine assists, made a pair of clutch free throws shortly after for the final margin.
Six New Orleans players scored 10 or more points, including Norris Cole with 21.
Dante Cunningham added 10 in a starting role for New Orleans, hitting both 3-pointers he took. The Pelicans were 12 of 20 from 3-point range, while Oklahoma City was 8 of 19.
Davis has scored 30 or more twice in the last five days, including 59 points in a victory at Detroit last Sunday. His play is giving New Orleans, which has won five of seven, faint hope of climbing back into contention for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference – if he can stay healthy.
Davis appeared to land hard on his left knee after a soaring block on Westbrook with 3:28 to go. He remained down clutching his knee while Anderson hit a transition 3 on the other end to make it 117-105. Davis rose to his feet seconds later but couldn’t stop Westbrook from hitting a layup, after which New Orleans took a timeout.
Davis, flexing his knee, returned the court for the final minutes, but the Thunder quickly cut their deficit to three on Westbrook’s driving layup and 3, followed by Durant’s driving layup, which made it 119-116 with 1:14 to go.
New Orleans went to Davis on its next possession. He was fouled in the lane and sank two free throws. Davis then rebounded Westbrook’s miss and Durant lost a rebound of Holiday’s miss out of bounds, allowing New Orleans to run the clock down to 18 seconds left before the Thunder got the ball back.
New Orleans was clinging to a two-point lead after three quarters, but quickly widened it to eight on back-to-back 3s by Douglas and Cunningham to start the fourth quarter and never trailed again.
New Orleans shot about 70 percent through the first 14 minutes and opened up a 44-34 lead on Holiday’s 17-foot jumper. But in a matter of minutes, the lead was gone as Durant scored six points and Westbrook four during a 10-0 run that tied it.
The rest of the second quarter remained close, with both teams shooting better than 53 percent for the half. In the final second of the half, Westbrook hit a pull-up jumper as officials called Douglas for a foul. Watching the replay, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry screamed, “That’s a joke!” at officials. But the only ones smiling were Thunder players, as Westbrook’s foul shot completed the three-point play, giving him 25 points in the half and Oklahoma City a 64-61 lead.
Thunder: Durant scored 20 or more points for a 43rd straight game. … Oklahoma City had won the previous two meetings with New Orleans. They do not meet again this season.
Pelicans: Shortly before the game, the Pelicans announced that rookie guard Bryce Dejean-Jones, who’d been a fill-in starter much of the past month, was diagnosed with a fractured right wrist earlier in the day and was scheduled for surgery on Friday. Because he was out, injury-plagued New Orleans opened the game with its 26th different starting lineup this season, with Cole at point guard, Alonzo Gee at shooting guard, Cunningham at small forward, Davis at power forward and Alexis Ajinca at center.
Thunder: Host Golden State on Saturday night.
Pelicans: Host Minnesota on Saturday night.