National Basketball Association
Oklahoma City 94, New Orleans 92
When: 9:30 PM ET, Sunday, April 21, 2024
Where: Paycom Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Officials: #25 Tony Brothers, #24 Kevin Scott, #72 JT Orr, #21 Dedric Taylor
Attendance: 18203

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 28 points to lift the host Oklahoma City Thunder to a thrilling 94-92 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday in Game 1 of a Western Conference first-round playoff series.

In the Thunder's first playoff game since 2020, Gilgeous-Alexander made a pair of key baskets in the final two minutes to give Oklahoma City the series lead.

In the fourth quarter, Oklahoma City experienced a stretch of five-plus minutes without a field goal as the Pelicans went up 90-88.

But then Gilgeous-Alexander turned things around.

First, he hit a pull-up jumper to tie the game with 1:36 remaining, then fought through traffic -- and a foul -- to hit a floater, sinking the ensuing free throw to give the Thunder a 93-90 edge with 32.5 seconds to play.

However, the Pelicans weren't done.

CJ McCollum hit a turnaround fadeaway with 26.5 seconds remaining to pull New Orleans within one, and Oklahoma City's Chet Holmgren missed 1 of 2 free throws to keep the Thunder's lead at two.

With 14 seconds left, the Pelicans had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead, but Cason Wallace locked in defensively on McCollum, first reaching out for a deflection, then keeping him from getting a clean look. McCollum's potential game-winner missed the mark with 1.3 seconds to go.

"I thought we showed great grit down the stretch," Oklahoma City coach Mark Daigneault said.

Playing without forward Zion Williamson, who sustained a left hamstring strain in a play-in loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Pelicans fought hard throughout.

They fell behind by nine just before the midpoint of the third quarter before a 16-6 run put them back in front. Trey Murphy III scored seven points during the stretch, which put the Pelicans ahead 66-65 with 1:57 left in the period.

Oklahoma City quickly rebounded, finishing the quarter on a 9-2 run.

The Thunder stretched the lead to 10, their largest advantage of the game, early in the fourth quarter, but New Orleans bounced back.

Jalen Williams added 19 points for Oklahoma City, while Holmgren had 15 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks. Both players were making their postseason debuts.

Oklahoma City had not won a game scoring fewer than 102 points this season.

"Our guys fought, fought all night, defense was solid," said New Orleans coach Willie Green, whose team held the Thunder to 43.5 percent shooting from the field and 31.2 percent shooting from deep. "We've got to knock down some shots."

Murphy led the Pelicans with 21 points, McCollum added 20 and Jonas Valanciunas had 13 points and 20 rebounds.

--Field Level Media

Top Game Performances
New Orleans   Oklahoma City
Trey Murphy III 21 Scoring Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 28
CJ McCollum 6 Assists Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 4
Jonas Valanciunas 20 Rebounds Chet Holmgren 11
Jonas Valanciunas 3 Free Throws Made Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 6
CJ McCollum 2 Steals Jalen Williams 2
Trey Murphy III 3 Blocks Chet Holmgren 5
Team Stats Summary
Team Points FG% 3PM-3PA FTM-FTA Assists Rebounds Blocks Steals Turnovers
New Orleans 92 38.5 11-39 7-9 22 52 6 7 14
Oklahoma City 94 43.5 10-32 10-13 21 44 7 5 13
Upcoming Games
  • Oklahoma City will play their next game at home against New Orleans. The Thunder have a W/L % of .696 after a win and .692 after a loss.
  • New Orleans will play their next game on the road against Oklahoma City. The Pelicans have a W/L % of .580 after a win and .625 after a loss.