OKLAHOMA CITY (AP)Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 23 points and eight rebounds, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the New Orleans Pelicans 115-104 on Saturday.
Dennis Schroder and rookie Darius Bazley each added 17 points for the Thunder. Danilo Gallinari scored 16 points and Chris Paul finished with 15 points and nine assists.
JJ Redick scored 17 points for the Pelicans, who were coming off their only victory of the season. The Pelicans played most of the game without leading scorer Brandon Ingram, who left midway through the second quarter with an injury.
Gilgeous-Alexander scored 10 points in the first seven minutes and had 18 at halftime. Bazley scored eight points in the third quarter, getting extra minutes with starter Terrance Ferguson having to sit out with flu-like symptoms. The Thunder took a 94-86 lead into the fourth quarter.
New Orleans cut it to 104-101 with 5:10 remaining on Redick’s 3-pointer, but Paul and Gallinari responded with back-to-back 3 and Schroder took control of the game in the final minutes on defense as Oklahoma City pulled away.
The Thunder missed center Steven Adams for the second straight game due to a bruised knee and went to a small lineup for a good portion of the game due to foul trouble for centers Nerlens Noel and Mike Muscala. Jahlil Okafor took advantage for the Pelicans, scoring 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, but he was ineffective down the stretch as New Orleans fell to 1-5.
Ingram, who was averaging 26.8 points, appeared to try and intentionally foul Gilgeous-Alexander on a drive to stop play, but didn’t get a whistle.A few seconds later, on a dead ball, he came out of the game and went straight to the Pelicans locker room with an apparent head injury. He did not return to the bench for the remainder of the game, finishing with just seven points.
New Orleans is already missing rookie No. 1 pick Zion Williamson, who is recovering from knee surgery.
Pelicans: Lonzo Ball injured his ankle in the third quarter but was able to return to the game. He finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. … This was the first professional meeting between Pelicans guard Nick Alexander-Walker and Gilgeous-Alexander, cousins who played in prep school together. Alexander-Walker checked in at the 3:17 mark of the first quarter to guard Gilgeous-Alexander. He didn’t allow Gilgeous-Alexander to score in their first encounter but did pick up a foul trying to cover him.
Thunder: Adams is listed as day to day. Noel again was the starter in his place and blocked six shots in 23 minutes of action. … Billy Donovan made his first coach’s challenge of the season on a goaltending call against Noel in the second quarter. Donovan lost the challenge as the call was upheld after replay.
Pelicans: Stay on the road to visit Brooklyn on Monday.
Thunder: Host Orlando on Tuesday.
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