Davis drains buzzer-beater vs. Thunder, lifts Pelicans playoffs hopes
The Pelicans head coach Monty Williams shed his normally reserved demeanor with a feisty challenge for his New Orleans squad before they took on the Thunder in Oklahoma City Friday.
Anthony Davis and company responded with a battle and ensuing victory that certainly bolsters both their chances and confidence in snagging a playoff spot.
"If you don’t want to step up and be great tonight, step aside and let someone else on this team be great," Williams said pregame.
New Orleans’ squad answered Williams’ challenge, despite the return of Kevin Durant and another huge night for Russell Westbrook, who set a new career high in scoring with 48 points.
Anthony Davis knocked own an amazing last-second, desperation three point shot at the buzzer to earn the 116-113 win.
Astounded OKC fans remained in their seats in disbelief as Davis did a postgame interview on the court.
"I don’t even know what to say right now," Davis smiled. "It doesn’t seem real. I got the shot off, fell down, and watched it go in through the net from down on the ground. It was my first three-point make of the season."
Until that shot, Davis was 0-8 from beyond the arc this season. Once again, the 21-year-old put the Pelicans on his back and delivered exactly what the team needed when they needed it.
"We talked before the game about whether we wanted to be good or great," Davis said. "We decided as a team we were going to be great. We battled together and all stepped up. This was a big group win."
The final matchup of the season between these two teams dripped with potential playoff implications, since just one game separated the 9th ranked Pelicans from the 10th ranked Thunder going into the contest.
Davis continued his franchise record streak of scoring at least 20 points. Davis now has now recorded 13 consecutive games with 20 points or more, ending this matchup with 41 points.
Quincy Pondexter, who is normally known for defensive prowess, offensively took advantage of all the defensive attention the Thunder paid to Davis. Pondexter was New Orleans’ leading scorer for much of the first half until Davis caught up. Pondexter ended the night as the Pelicans’ third leading scorer with 15 points on the night.
Tyreke Evans continued excelling at the point guard position: capping off his 13 assists with 20 points and 10 rebounds, a triple double.
The Pelicans now return to New Orleans for a quick turnaround. They welcome in the Chicago Bulls for an early tip Saturday night.
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