Thunder return home to face Pelicans

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder have won eight of their last nine and will try to keep that momentum going Sunday night when they host the New Orleans Pelicans at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The Thunder were without the services of reigning MVP Kevin Durant their last time out. Durant sprained his ankle in the first half, a 30-point first-half, in a loss against the Golden State Warriors Thursday. He sat out a 104-103 road win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

Russell Westbrook scored 31 points with 10 assists and five rebounds to lead the Thunder versus the Lakers at Staples Center.

Reggie Jackson deposited 25 points, Serge Ibaka netted 16 points with seven rebounds and five blocks and Andre Roberson added 10 points for the Thunder.

"This was a good win for us," explained Westbrook. "We came out with a good mindset and got the win. We took what the defense gave us and knocked down the shots."

Oklahoma City held Kobe Bryant to a season-low-tying nine points.

Durant is still listed as day-to-day.

The Thunder host the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, then head to San Antonio for a Christmas night showdown with the defending champs.

The Pelicans saw a two-game winning streak snapped Saturday night thanks to a home loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. New Orleans fell, 114-88, to a Portland team that went three overtimes against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.

New Orleans had won three of four coming in, but the usually productive triumvirate of Anthony Davis, Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday combined to shoot 8-of-37 (21.6 percent) for a total of 19 points.

Austin Rivers netted a team-high 21 points and Ryan Anderson added 16.

"We have to have a strong mentality to flush this one before tomorrow, because the NBA is pretty cruel in that way," Pelicans coach Monty Williams said.

The margin reached 19 at one point in the opening frame and grew to 44-23 early in the second. The third pushed the difference to 80-51, and both teams emptied their bench from there.

The Pelicans beat the Thunder on Dec. 2 in New Orleans. That made it two in a row for New Orleans. Prior to that win in April, the Thunder had won 10 in a row in this series.

OKC has won eight in a row at home versus the Pelicans.