West Notes: Thunder, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Pelicans, Rockets


Guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander said his 42-point eruption vs. the Wizards took place mostly because he was able to get to his spots and get into a rhythm.

“Those are shots I’m comfortable shooting,” he told reporters of finishing 9-of-10 shooting in the second half. “I found a sweet spot, and really just take what they give me.”

Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 31.5 points through 13 games — exactly seven points better than his scoring average from last season. The Thunder are a surprising 7-8 (including 3-5 on the road) as a result.

  • No. 2 overall draft pick Chet Holmgren is out for the year after foot surgery, but has been with the Thunder on their four-game trip. “When he’s around, I think he elevates the team because he’s about the team,” coach Mark Daigneault told reporters. “A week away from the team can drag.”


Things have been going better for the Pelicans lately, and a lot of that seems to be the result of spacing and getting good looks at the basket, guard CJ McCollum indicated.

“We’ve been doing a better job spacing, a better job of sharing the ball,” McCollum told reporters. “Shooting more 3s, I think that’s the difference, getting quality looks.”

  • It is indeed working, as the Pelicans (9-6) have won three straight and four of five, despite not having power forward Zion Williamson the past couple of games.
  • Williamson (bruised right foot) is considered day-to-day and could return to action before the Pelicans’ homestand ends on Monday, coach Willie Green said, via the AP.


  • The Rockets record 19 blocks in their win over the Mavericks on Wednesday, the most since they recorded 20 on the same date in 1984. Yes, 38 years ago.
  • Second-year big man Usman Garuba recorded three of those. “Nineteen blocks, that’s crazy,” Garuba said, via the AP. “I think we’ve got the potential to a very good defensive team.”
  • Of course, Mavericks guard/forward Tim Hardaway Jr. was less enamored. “You give a team 19 blocks, you deserve to lose,” he told reporters. “They were protecting the paint. They did their thing.”
  • Houston (3-12) is in another rebuilding year, but has the potential to get some wins over the next week or so. Each of its next five games are at home.

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