Slurped into the maw

The Pelicans got the last nine points of the third quarter, and the first five of the fourth, leaving the Thunder in a seven-point hole after having once led by a dozen. With 3:00 left, New Orleans was up 103-100, and Serge Ibaka was on the bench with six fouls. (Seven, if you count the technical, which you don’t.) This was not the best time for Kevin Durant, apparently healed of his toe sprain, to have trouble shooting. With 18 seconds left, it was NO 111, OKC 110; Tyreke Evans somehow missed two free throws, but the Thunder came up dry on the next possession, and Anthony Davis knocked down a pair to give the Birds a three-point lead with two seconds to go; incredibly, Russell Westbrook’s trey didn’t go, but he was fouled, and Russ scored all three free throws to tie it at 113 with 1.2 seconds left. Even more incredibly, Anthony Davis got in a trey just barely at the horn. New Orleans 116, Oklahoma City 113, and the Pelicans win the season series 3-1.

Between Davis, who got his 41st point of the night with that buzzer-beater, and Evans, who had a triple-double (22 points, 16 assists, 10 rebounds), it’s perhaps a surprise the Birds were held to a mere 116; they made 11 of 20 treys all night, shot 48 percent overall, got 25 of 30 free throws to fall, and held 26-19 advantages in assists and 46-40 off the glass. This is the number I’m looking at, though: the New Orleans bench, mostly Quincy Pondexter and Ryan Anderson, collected 36 points, while the Thunder reserves managed only 11.

Among the OKC starters, Westbrook was clearly on: those last three free throws gave him 48 points for the night, a new career high. (Not to mention an average of 46.5 for the last two games.) Durant, clearly off, still came up with 27 points, albeit on 9-26 shooting; Ibaka and Steven Adams (also the recipient of a T) had 10 each.

The Clippers, who have obligingly dropped three in a row, will be here Sunday at noon. Maybe I’ll wake up for it.





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