There was an incredible finish in Oklahoma City on Friday between the Thunder and the Pelicans, two teams trying desperately to sneak into the postseason in the crowded Western Conference.
It went down like this.
The Thunder trailed by one with 17 seconds remaining, and had possession. The ball went to Kevin Durant, who missed a long, step-back two over Anthony Davis. New Orleans secured the rebound, but Tyreke Evans turned it over in an attempt at a long outlet pass. Durant came up with the steal and drove the lane, but missed again, this time right at the rim.
Davis came up with the rebound, and was intentionally fouled with a couple of seconds left. He hit both free throws to push the lead to three, and now it was the Thunder’s chance to try to tie things up.
The ball went to Russell Westbrook at the top of the three-point arc, and he fired and missed. But Quincy Pondexter ran right through him as he was in the air, and the referees correctly blew the whistle, awarding Westbrook three free throws.
Westbrook made all three, and with 1.2 seconds remaining, the Pelicans would have one last chance to avoid the overtime session.
Davis finished with 41 points and 10 rebounds. Westbrook finished with 48 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists.
Both players are MVP candidates, yet neither of their respective teams would be in the playoffs if the season ended today.
With this incredible victory, however, the Pelicans now find themselves just a half-game out.