Chris Paul scored seven points during a pivotal 12-0 run late in the fourth quarter as the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 107-104 on Sunday.
The turnaround was similar to one less than 48 hours earlier when the host Thunder scored the final six points to beat the Pelicans 109-104.
Danilo Gallinari led Oklahoma City with 23 points and 11 rebounds on Sunday, Steven Adams had 17 points and 10 rebounds, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder scored 17 each and Paul, a former New Orleans player, had 16.
Jrue Holiday led the Pelicans with 26, Brandon Ingram added 20, Lonzo Ball scored 14, JJ Redick had 13 and Josh Hart had 11 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.
The Thunder made 20 of 26 free throws, while the Pelicans were 9 of 10.
Oklahoma City led by one point at halftime but New Orleans twice took three-point leads early in the third quarter.
The score was tied before Gilgeous-Alexander scored four points during a closing 5-0 run that gave the Thunder an 82-77 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Hart made two 3-pointers as the Pelicans tied the score at 84.
After Schroder’s layup, Ingram made two free throws and Ball hit a 3-pointer to give New Orleans an 89-86 lead.
Later, the lead grew to five on another 3-pointer by Ball, but Paul’s jumper and Gallinari’s 3-pointer tied the score at 94 with 3:51 left.
After a Holiday miss, Paul made a jumper, Adams made two free throws and Paul hit a 3-pointer to give Oklahoma City a 101-94 lead with 2:12 left.
The Thunder started fast, opening a 14-point lead midway through the first quarter.
Ingram led a Pelicans’ comeback as they finished with a 15-5 run, leaving Oklahoma City with a 33-29 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Thunder made 10 of 13 free throws in the first half while New Orleans made two of two and didn’t go to the foul line during the final 22-plus minutes of the half. The Thunder took a 56-55 halftime lead.