Kevin Durant dropped in 27 points in his season debut but the New Orleans Pelicans spoiled the return of the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player.
Tyreke Evans erupted for 15 of his season-high 30 points in the final quarter, Anthony Davis added 25 with 10 rebounds and a career-tying best-six steals as the Pelicans beat the Thunder 112-104 on Tuesday.
After missing the first 17 games following foot surgery, Durant shook off the seven-week layoff, connecting on 9-of-18 field goals, including three triples and five turnovers in his restricted 30 minutes.
But the Thunder’s porous defence was their undoing.
The Pelicans raced to a 69-52 halftime cushion behind 21 points from Davis, that eventually swelled to 19 in the third quarter.
Led by their reserves Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb and Anthony Morrow, the Thunder stormed to within 90-85 with nine minutes 24 seconds remaining.
New Orleans responded with a 13-2 run, as Evans ran off the final 11 points on an assortment of uncontested layups to put the Pelicans back in control 103-87 with five minutes left.
Jrue Holiday had 23 points and 10 assists while Ryan Anderson had 23 points and 11 rebounds as New Orleans (8-8) snapped a three-game skid.
Russell Westbrook scored 21, Jackson had 17 and Lamb finished with 15 for Oklahoma City (5-13), which had its season-high two-game winning streak stopped.
Elsewhere the Cleveland Cavaliers edged the Milwaukee Bucks 111-108 with Kyrie Irving scoring 28 points, Kevin Love 27 and LeBron James 26 to spark the Cavaliers (9-7) to their fourth straight win.
Andrew Bogut’s Golden State Warriors tipped the Orlando Magic 98-97 near the buzzer as Stephen Curry scored 22 points, including the game-winning triple with 4.2 seconds left.
The Warriors’ (15-2) winning streak is now at 10.
In took double overtime for the Dallas Mavericks to beat the Chicago Bulls 132-129.
Monta Ellis made three free throws to send the game into overtime, then hit the go-ahead triple with 39 ticks left in the second extra session to cap a season-high 38-point effort.
Spaniard Pau Gasol had 29 points and 14 rebounds for Chicago.
Other winners were the Portland Trail Blazers, Atlanta Hawks, Toronto Raptors, Brooklyn Nets, Phoenix Suns and LA Lakers.