Thunder Achieve Major Rallying 119-112 Win vs. Pelicans

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at New Orleans Pelicans
Matthew Hinton-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder showcased their resilience and strategic prowess by erasing a 20-point deficit and executing a crucial 12-0 run in the final minutes to clinch a 119-112 win over the New Orleans Pelicans during Tuesday’s NBA action. The victory underscored the team’s ability to maintain composure under pressure.

“We don’t flinch,” said Thunder guard Josh Giddey, who scored 25 points. “You just got to be able to stay level-headed through a swing either way.”

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, battling through a sore quadriceps, contributed significantly with 24 points, tying the game with a crucial 3-pointer late in the match.

“Most of it’s just trying not to think about it, and just play the game, read and react, and do everything you can to impact the game in a positive way,” Gilgeous-Alexander said before walking gingerly out of the arena.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder, Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans Updates

Fueled by Zion Williamson‘s 29 points and CJ McCollum‘s 23, the Pelicans mounted a formidable comeback to challenge the Thunder’s lead. However, their efforts were thwarted as they failed to score in the game’s closing moments, a situation Williamson reflected on with a focus on future improvement.

“We were kind of stagnant and I definitely got to demand the ball more in those situations,” Williamson admitted.

Despite the loss, Williamson also expressed enthusiasm for the competitive nature of the late-season games, cherishing the intensity and significance of these matchups as learning opportunities for playoff preparedness.

“This is what being competitive is all about,” Williamson said. “These games are fun to play in. We didn’t get the result we wanted tonight, but games like this, when I watch playoff basketball, this is what games look like – just down the wire, teams make runs and whoever stays the most disciplined gets the win. So, I’m excited for this stretch.”

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder, Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans Updates

The Thunder’s victory, marked by Chet Holmgren‘s 16 points and a cohesive team effort, enhanced their position in the Western Conference standings, drawing closer to the top spot. Oklahoma City coach Mark Daigneault praised his team’s toughness and poise in overcoming the challenge presented by the Pelicans.

“I don’t think we’ve really given up leads of that nature the way that we did tonight,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. “But you have to be able to handle a lot of different situations in competition and I thought our guys just showed great toughness and poise in a pretty hostile environment against a very sharp opponent that had a lot of momentum.”

On the other hand, Pelicans coach Willie Green acknowledged the Thunder’s superior execution in the crucial final minutes while emphasizing the need for a consistent sense of urgency from the beginning of the game.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder, Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans Updates

As both teams look ahead to their next matchups, with the Thunder hosting Houston and the Pelicans facing Milwaukee, they carry lessons and moments of growth from a game that epitomized the unpredictable and thrilling nature of NBA competition.

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