The first three games of the second day of playoff action were easy wins for the home teams. Thankfully, the New Orleans Pelicans and Oklahoma City Thunder decided to give us a game that actually felt like a playoff contest. It was a battle full of hard-nosed defense, clutch buckets, and a strong will to win from both teams. There were no massive leads, either, with the biggest Thunder lead being 10 points, while it was seven for the Pelicans. 

It was an unremarkable night for both teams from the three-point line, with the Pelicans shooting 11 of 39 (28.2%) and the Thunder going 10-32 (31.3%). That ended up being a blessing for fans, because that forced both teams to play hard-nosed basketball and fight for rebounds. The 27 combined turnovers for both teams showed how intense the defense was, especially in the fourth quarter.


There were over 40 lead changes and ties. That’s how close the game was and how exciting the fourth quarter was for casual NBA fans. In the end, it came down to a final shot, a pretty good look from beyond the arc that CJ McCollum missed, allowing the Thunder to squeak by with a 94-92 win. McCollum would end the game with 20 points, three rebounds, six assists, a steal and a block.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led all scorers with 28 points, six rebounds and four assists on 11 of 24 shooting. The MVP candidate was responsible for the game-tying basket and the go-ahead bucket on consecutive offensive possessions.

Chet Holmgren played a massive role in the victory as well due to his 15 points, 15 rebounds, two assists, one steal and five blocks. Two of those blocks came in the final 2:27 of the game, with the biggest one being the swat with 54 seconds left that stopped the Pelicans from retaking the lead with the score tied 90-90.

The Thunder were understandably happy with the win, and they’ll now be looking to stay locked in against a worthy foe in Game 2. I’m hoping that we get the same type of fireworks, and maybe seven games of this series. If Zion Williamson can come back strong from his hamstring injury at some point, the Pelicans are going to be a hard out.