In a nail-biter, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leads Thunder to Game 1 victory over Pelicans

    In an intense Game 1 of the first-round Western Conference playoff series, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Oklahoma City Thunder to a narrow 94-92 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. The game was a nail-biter, with Gilgeous-Alexander scoring 28 points, including the crucial go-ahead basket in the final minute. His performance was instrumental in securing the win for the top-seeded Thunder.

    The game came down to the wire, with New OrleansCJ McCollum missing an off-balance 3-pointer in the closing seconds, allowing the Thunder to hold on to their first home playoff victory since 2019. Jalen Williams and Chet Holmgren also made significant contributions, with Williams scoring 19 points and Holmgren adding 15 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists. The Thunder’s strong performance sets the stage for an exciting Game 2, which they will host on Wednesday night.

    Trey Murphy III and CJ McCollum led the charge for the Pelicans, with Murphy scoring 21 points and McCollum adding 20. However, their efforts fell short as the Thunder managed to secure the narrow victory. Notably, Zion Williamson, New Orleans’ leading scorer in the regular season, was sidelined with a strained left hamstring, impacting the Pelicans’ offensive firepower.

    Pelicans’ late surge wasn’t enough

    The game was filled with tense moments, but it was Gilgeous-Alexander’s clutch play that ultimately made the difference. With just 32.5 seconds left on the clock and the score tied at 90-all, he made an off-balance jumper and was fouled on the play. As the crowd chanted “M-V-P!”, Gilgeous-Alexander calmly sank the free throw, putting Oklahoma City ahead 93-90. His composure under pressure and ability to deliver when it mattered most earned him praise from fans and teammates alike.

    McCollum responded with a mid-range jumper, narrowing the gap to 93-92. The tension mounted as Holmgren was fouled with 14 seconds left. Despite missing the first free throw, he maintained his poise and sank the second, putting the Thunder ahead 94-92 and setting the stage for McCollum’s final shot.

    The thrilling Game 1 victory sets the stage for an exciting playoff series between the Thunder and the Pelicans, showcasing the intensity and drama that playoff basketball brings.

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