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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Brandon Ingram had 20 points and seven rebounds before being ejected in the third quarter and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 113-80 on Thursday night.

Eric Bledsoe added 17 points and Lonzo Ball had 16 points, nine assists and eight rebounds for New Orleans, which lost all four of its games last season to the Thunder. But in their first meeting this season, the Pelicans built an 11-point halftime lead and never were seriously threatened after that.

“Early in the year, we’re trying to get better,” New Orleans coach Stan Van Gundy said. “We’ve been struggling offensively so it was good to see the ball go in the basket. It was good to score some points. I thought our defense was pretty good overall. It was just a good night and we need to keep moving forward. The games come fast and furious here.”

Oklahoma City, which lost its third straight game – all at home – after winning its season opener at Charlotte, had won 10 of its 12 previous games on New Year’s Eve. Al Horford led the Thunder with 17 points and six rebounds.

The Pelicans led 77-67 with 3 minutes left in the third quarter when Bledsoe’s arm caught Isaiah Roby across the face as Roby looked for a layup on a fast break. Officials ruled it a flagrant foul and ejected Ingram, but Roby missed both free throws and Oklahoma City came no closer than seven points the rest of the quarter.

The Pelicans extended their lead to 85-73 entering the fourth quarter and continued pulling away, eventually leading by as many as 33 points while matching their season high in scoring.

Steven Adams, in his first game against the Thunder after being traded during the offseason, had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Josh Hart added 12 points and 11 rebounds.

TIP-INS:

Pelicans: New Orleans posted a 58-40 rebounding advantage . Ingram entered the game averaging 10.3 points this season during the third quarter and had eight against the Thunder before his ejection . JJ Redick and Oklahoma City’s Hamidou Diallo each were slapped with a technical foul in the third quarter after jawing at each other.

Thunder: George Hill returned to the starting lineup after missing Tuesday’s loss to Orlando due to neck spasms . The Thunder matched their season high with 15 3-pointers (in 48 attempts).

QUOTEABLE:

Thunder coach Mark Daigneault, on his team’s high volume of 3-point attempts: “(The Pelicans) are really aggressive with their on-ball defense and on help defense, and that leaves the perimeter open. I keep telling the team we’ve got to take what the defense gives us. If you have open 3s, you’ve got to take them. You’d like to have a bit more balance, and I thought there were times we tried to do too much with the ball, but overall we took good shots.”

ADAMS RETURNS

Adams spent seven seasons in Oklahoma City, where the New Zealand native became a fan favorite. The Thunder posted a tribute video to Adams on social media before the game and during pregame introductions, they turned up the fake crowd noise in the arena to simulate extra applause for Adams.

UP NEXT:

Pelicans: Will begin a four-game homestand on Saturday against Toronto.

Thunder: Will begin a five-game road swing on Saturday in Orlando, four days after losing to the Magic in Oklahoma City.



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Canelo Alvarez next fight: Mexican superstar expected to face Avni Yildirim at super middleweight in February

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Canelo Alvarez is ready for his next challenge. The unified super middleweight champion is expected to take on Avni Yildirim — the WBC mandatory challenger — on Feb. 27, Canelo’s trainer and manager, Eddy Reynoso, told Boxing Scene. According to both The Athletic and Sports Illustrated, the fight is expected to take place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. 

Alvarez claimed the WBA and vacant WBC super middleweight titles on Dec. 19 with a decision win over Callum Smith in Texas. The pound-for-pound great had been out of action for nearly a year due to the pandemic as well as contractual disputes with Golden Boy Promotions and streaming partner DAZN. Alvarez reached a deal with both in the fall to become a free agent and open up the possibility of fighting whomever he wants. 

Sports Illustrated’s report notes that this is the first matchup in a multi-fight deal between Alvarez and Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, who promoted Alvarez’s recent win over Smith. Under this agreement, the expectation is that Alvarez would face Billy Joe Saunders at 168 pounds in May. 

Can’t get enough boxing and MMA? Get the latest in the world of combat sports from two of the best in the business. Subscribe to Morning Kombat with Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell for the best analysis and in-depth news.

Yildirim, the 29-year-old from Turkey, has only lost twice as a pro. That includes his most recent bout against Anthony Dirrell in February 2019 when an accident headbutt in the 10th round ended the fight and sent it to the judges’ scorecards. Yilidirim lost on points. His only other loss came in his only other bout against higher-level competition when he was knocked out by Chris Eubank Jr. in 2017.



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England in Sri Lanka 2021

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Joe Root is backing his young openers to come through the tough initiation of a maiden Test tour of Asia stronger for the experience.

Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley both failed to reach double figures in either innings of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle and both fell to spin, the same spinner in fact, each time.

Sibley got a faint edge to a ball from left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya which drifted in and spun away slightly for a slips catch while on 4 in the first innings before Crawley chipped to mid-off for 9. On 2 in the second innings, Sibley appeared stunned by Embuldeniya’s arm ball which took the top of off stump, and Crawley fell for 8 to an ill-conceived drive taken at gully.

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Colin Cowherd: It’s time for Colts to trade up in draft and find their franchise quarterback | UNDISPUTED

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Colin Cowherd: It’s time for Colts to trade up in draft and find their franchise quarterback | UNDISPUTED | FOX Sports

Colin Cowherd discusses why it’s time for the Indianapolis Colts to go big in this year’s draft to find their franchise quarterback after Philip Rivers’ decision to retire. Hear why Colin believes the Colts should potentially trade up for the Miami Dolphins #3 overall pick after their announcement to stick with Tua Tagovailoa.

AN HOUR AGO・NFL・5:32

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