A Close Call: Thunder Edge Out Pelicans in Game 1

The Thunder sweated much more than expected against the New Orleans Pelicans (94-92). Being first in the Western Conference and knowing that Zion Williamson was missing for the entire series, Oklahoma City was (and is) the clear favorite to advance to the next round; However, the first fight made it clear that those from Louisiana are not going to make things easier.

In a match that was extremely close from start to finish – OKC only managed a 10-point lead for a moment – ​​everything ended up being decided in the final moments. With three and a half minutes left, Brandon Ingram put his team two points ahead. The local stands saw disaster close, but right there, when it was most needed, all the talent of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander emerged to score five consecutive points and put the Thunder in the lead. Yes, the finalist for the MVP award of the course gave them air, but the final sigh of relief came when CJ McCollum missed a three-pointer in the last second. 1-0 for Oklahoma.

«I think we showed a lot of determination in the final stretch. Obviously, it was a close game. Offensively it was kind of a constant struggle for both teams. We made good defensive plays down the stretch, important plays, and we were determined to go in and win the game,” says Mark Daigneault, OKC head coach.

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In the individual section, and as expected by everyone, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander shone above the rest. The Thunder’s franchise player scored 28 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists. And he was not alone, since Chet Holmgren accompanied him with a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Jalen Williams contributed another 19 points.

While for Oklahoma the game became a race to avoid disaster, for New Orleans it was confirmation that they are ready to fight. They don’t have Zion, but in his absence others shined like Trey Murphy III with 21 points or Jonas Valanciunas with a double-double of 13 points and 20 rebounds. Yes, they were in the fight and Willie Green can only praise such an effort by his boys.

“We had shots in good positions down the stretch that we just didn’t make, so it all came down to the last play. Our guys fought all night. The defense was solid. The game plan was executed at a high level. We just have to make some shots,” says the NOLA coach.

(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

2024-04-22 06:00:00
#Oklahoma #survives #Pelican #rebellion

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