Pelicans beat Thunder on miracle shot by Devonte’ Graham
The momentum and emotions swung wildly in the final seconds Wednesday night at Oklahoma City.
First, Brandon Ingram calmly nailed a pair of free throws to give the New Orleans Pelicans a three-point lead.
Then, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander hit an improbable 31 foot 3-pointer with under 2.3 seconds left to tie the game and set the stage for overtime.
Devonte’ Graham wasn’t having any of it. He decided the Pelicans were not going to play anymore.
Graham banked in a 61-foot heave at the buzzer to give New Orleans a dramatic 113-110 victory over the Thunder.
— NBA (@NBA) December 16, 2021
It is the longest NBA buzzer beater in a quarter of a century.
Devonte' Graham made a 61-footer at the buzzer to win the game. That is the longest game-winning buzzer-beater over the last 25 years
This is the first game over the last 25 seasons to feature multiple game-tying or go-ahead shots from 30+ feet inside the 5 seconds of a game.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 16, 2021
Ingram was outstanding, particularly down the stretch in scoring 12 of his game-high 34 points during the fourth quarter. He also had eight rebounds and four assists.
The Thunder established the edge in the first half, leading 28-24 after one quarter and expanding the edge to 51-45 by halftime in a half where the Thunder led by as many as 12 points.
New Orleans chipped away to reduce the deficit to 78-75 going to the final quarter.
Jonas Valanciunas was outstanding, as usual, scoring 19 points with 16 rebounds.
Graham finished with 15 points, all on 3-pointers, as he sank 5-of-10 from 3-point range.
Josh Hart had 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
The Pelicans put themselves in peril by shooting poorly from the free throw line, missing 12 of 36 free throws while the Thunder made all 19 free throw attempts.
New Orleans won the battle of the boards 49-42.
For the Pelicans to get back in the chase for a play-in spot in the Western Conference, it was an important win as New Orleans improved to 9-21 while Oklahoma City fell to 8-19, effectively just a half-game ahead of the Pelicans.
On a day where Pelicans players no doubt heard or read the reports of New Orleans possibly pursuing a trade for Ben Simmons, the team came together and got a good road win. Any win is a good win, particularly in this difficult season for New Orleans.
The Pelicans step up in class to host the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks Friday night.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…