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


Star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander erupted for 36 points, and what do you know, the Thunder have won five straight after downing the mighty Celtics on Wednesday.Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Oklahoma City has also won nine of eight overall. But beating a team such as Boston makes it all seem a little more authentic.

“We were pretty resilient tonight,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. “I thought we took some punches.”

  • Of course, this win was a little tougher than some of the others. The Thunder beat the Timberwolves by 23 points and the defending champion Nuggets by 26 on the road last week.
  • Gilgeous-Alexander’s showing vs. the Celtics came on the same day that he was named Western Conference Player of the Week. He averaged 33.5 points, 6.5 assists and 5.3 rebounds in the four games leading up to Wednesday night.


The Pelicans have won three straight and eight of 11, the latest being a rout of the visiting Nets on Wednesday.

“I’m definitely seeing us coming out and having more of a sense of urgency across the board,” coach Willie Green told reporters. “Tonight was another step in the right direction.”

  • New Orleans opened the game on a 9-0 run and never trailed, leading by as many as 32 points. “It’s a growing point. We took this game very seriously and we tried to attack it,” point guard Jose Alvarado said. “We didn’t look past this game because we know winning in the NBA is tough.”


The Spurs have lost three straight and sit at 5-28 following Wednesday’s loss to the Grizzlies — and rookie center Victor Wembanyama remains on a minutes restriction.

It’s supposed to be 24. He played 26 vs. Memphis. Either way, the No. 1 overall pick said he’s ready for it to be lifted entirely.

“Yes,” he said, via Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. “I agree (with) the restrictions. At the moment, of course, I want to play and I am frustrated. But I know the wise option is to listen to the staff even though it is hard.”

  • Coach Gregg Popovich was asked if Wembanyama’s minutes restriction is ending soon. “In a certain amount of time, we will take more pictures and that will determine whether the minutes thing changes or not,” Popovich said, via Orsborn.
  • Wembanyama led the Spurs with 20 points despite the limited time. Keldon Johnson scored 19. Ja Morant scored 27 with 10 assists for the Grizzlies. “Of course, a good player,” Wembanyama said of Morant, via Orsborn. “Very, very small, so it’s hard to catch up on him, and very fast. Yeah, it’s just another great player that I see every night now in the NBA. Everyone’s got a franchise player like this who’s causing problems.”

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