After LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard were too much for them to handle, the New Orleans Pelicans may not have to face Oklahoma City's star tandem.
With Kevin Durant out again Sunday night due to a sprained ankle, the Pelicans could shift more attention toward Russell Westbrook as they visit the Thunder.
New Orleans (13-13) was chasing its first three-game win streak but ran into a wall against Portland on Saturday night, allowing the Trail Blazers to shoot 53.3 percent in a 114-88 loss that marked its lowest point total in nine games.
The Pelicans, who averaged 110.6 points to win five of their previous seven, allowed 94 through three quarters and scored less than 20 in both the first and third. All five starters had seven points or less - including Anthony Davis, who shot 3 of 14.
Aldridge and Lillard led Portland with a combined 44 points on 18-of-32 shooting.
"We haven't played like that, especially at home, or like this at the same time we played against a really good team who understood the moment," coach Monty Williams said.
Even though New Orleans won the first meeting with Oklahoma City, that 112-104 home victory Dec. 2 was Durant's season debut after he missed the first 17 games with a broken right foot. While he and Westbrook, who missed 14 games with a broken hand, combined for 48 points, the Thunder appeared out of sync and shot 44.0 percent with 17 turnovers.
"Like every coach in this league, you want your entire roster and (to) be able to throw all your pieces out on the court," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said Friday.
"We've been through this before with Russell and Kevin. And with Kevin out now, it's an adjustment. We have to make that adjustment, and you have to make it with confidence."
The Pelicans also got outstanding contributions in one of their best performances of the season in that game. Tyreke Evans scored 30 points and among their three double-doubles were Davis (25 points, 10 rebounds), Ryan Anderson (23 and 11) and Jrue Holiday (16 and 10 assists). Omer Asik added 14 rebounds and Davis had four blocks.
Oklahoma City (13-14), however, found its stride after losing in New Orleans, winning seven straight before a 114-109 loss to NBA-leading Golden State on Thursday. Durant was electrifying early in that contest with 30 points on 10-of-13 shooting in less than 19 minutes, but he sprained his ankle late in the first half and sat out the second.
Westbrook helped the Thunder bounce back in his absence Friday, scoring 31 and hitting a jumper with 38 seconds left in a 104-103 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant missed a jumper in the closing seconds, allowing Oklahoma City to close its trip at 2-1.
"I've got confidence in the people that we have on our team to lock in at the end," said Westbrook, who is averaging a career-best 27.2 points.
Durant, who will miss just the 17th game of his career, has averaged 27.1 points in his career against New Orleans, while Westbrook has put up 19.2 per game.
Prior to his solid stat line Dec. 2, Davis was sidelined by injury for five of the Pelicans' seven meetings with the Thunder since he entered the league in 2012. He totaled 19 points on 7-of-22 shooting with 15 rebounds in the two games he played.
New Orleans hasn't won in Oklahoma City in nearly five years, losing eight in a row since a 97-92 victory on Jan. 6, 2010.