Durant returns, but Pelicans down Thunder 112-104

Durant returns, but Pelicans down Thunder 112-104


AP Sports Writer

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant returned from a foot injury and scored 27 points in his season debut for Oklahoma City, but Tyreke Evans and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Thunder 112-104 on Tuesday night.

Durant played nearly 30 minutes, looking healthy whether he was throwing down a driving, two-handed dunk or snapping off one of his three 3-pointers.

Evans scored 15 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter. Anthony Davis had 25 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks for the Pelicans.

Jrue Holiday had 23 points and 10 assists while Ryan Anderson had 23 points and 11 rebounds as New Orleans snapped a three-game skid.

Russell Westbrook, in his second game back from a hand injury for the Thunder, scored 21. But he was not nearly as efficient as his previous game, when he scored 32 points in about 24 minutes in a win over New York.

Oklahoma City trailed by as many as 19 early in the third quarter and was still down by 18 when Evans' free throws made it 82-64 with 2:41 left in the period. But with a lineup of reserves, the Thunder closed the quarter on a 10-3 run during which Jeremy Lamb and Reggie Jackson each hit a pair of jumpers.

Jackson, who finished with 17 points, kept scoring early in the fourth - including a driving scoop as he was fouled and a roundhouse dunk - and the Thunder got as close as 87-82 on Perkins' layup with 10:24 still left. But when Perkins complained that he was fouled while scoring, he was assessed a technical, which marked the beginning of a 13-3 Pelicans run.

Evans scored the last eight points of the spurt, all on driving layups, hitting one after he dunked under Westbrook's attempted block on a fast-break, caught a foot in the head and spun the ball in off the glass.

Durant missed his first shot and even his first free throw before scoring his first point of the season on a foul shot. On the Thunder's next possession, he drained a right wing 3, and wound up scoring six points in his first seven minutes on the court as Oklahoma City took an early 14-8 lead.

The Pelicans gradually pulled in front, leading most of the second quarter, and Davis dominated the final two minutes of the half, scoring seven points during a 12-0 run that also included Anderson's 3 and Evans' layup.

The surge was highlighted by Davis' three-point play on a driving layup as he was fouled by Steven Adams and crashed over the baseline. Davis capped the quarter with a 17-foot jumper that brought the crowd to its feet as New Orleans took a 69-52 lead into the locker room.


Thunder: Lamb scored 15 points. ... Oklahoma City fell to 1-8 on the road, where it will play its next two games. ... Westbrook was assessed a technical foul for arguing in the first quarter. ... The Thunder has not won when it has had fewer rebounds than an opponent. This time they were outrebounded by New Orleans 49-45.

Pelicans: Coach Monty Williams elected to start Luke Babbitt at small forward and moved the 6-foot-6 Evans, who has spent most of the early season working as an undersized forward, to shooting guard. Williams said Babbitt, who ended the game shooting 7 of 12 from 3-point range, "gives us spacing on the floor." Babbitt had six points on a pair of 3-pounters. ... G Eric Gordon, who is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury, missed his fourth straight game. The Pelicans are 1-3 without him.


Thunder: Visit Philadelphia on Friday in the second of a three-game road swing.

Pelicans: Visit Golden State on Thursday to open three straight games in California.


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