OKC Thunder squeaked out of the first play-in game with win over the Pels
Making into the play-in tournament is one huge thing for the OKC Thunder, but winning and not succumbing to the pressure of a postseason environment is even a more massive feat.
It was everything the OKC faithful would envision — a hot crowd, superb performances from the Thunder’s main guys, and a thrilling ending with enormous ripples for what the team has been building.
It was a culmination of everything the Thunder broke through this season.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander dropped 25 of his 32 points in the second half, including a go-ahead short stab in the waning seconds to propel the OKC Thunder over the New Orleans Pelicans, 123-118, in one of the most grind it out victories of the team this season.
The game was also a scintillating display of Josh Giddey’s poise and brilliance, unleashing 31 points, nine rebounds, and 10 assists to prove his mettle in his first postseason game of his young NBA career.
Dort also played one of his best games this season as he fired 27 points on four threes, while providing the perimeter defense the Thunder desperately needed against a team with a lethal scorer like Brandon Ingram.
The win gave the Thunder two postseason games under their belt that they could build off for their next campaigns.
For a young team on the rise, reps and experiences are essential to reach a level most teams aim for. For the Thunder, this was more than an arrival, as this was a declaration.
The game declared the team’s identity and attitude when faced with arduous atmospheres. Typically, young teams fold down the stretch on the road, but the Thunder not only kept their composure amidst the roaring crowd in New Orleans, but also survived a game of ups-and-downs to snag the all-important victory.
The game also synthesized a season of growth, and winning for the OKC Thunder. Everyone can and will look back to this game and realize how huge of a turn this was towards their pathway to the promised land.