DEVONTE’ Graham made one of the greatest game-winning buzzer-beaters in National Basketball Association (NBA) history, banking in a 61-footer to give the New Orleans Pelicans a thrilling 113-110 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.
Just moments before Graham’s heave from three-quarters court, the Thunder’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander nailed a deep 3-pointer of his own with 1.4 seconds left to tie the game. Gilgeous-Alexander’s 30-footer came as he was avoiding a foul that would have sent him to the free-throw line for two shots.
However, Graham stole the show moments later, taking one dribble and launching from near the opposing 3-point arc. His miracle shot sent Oklahoma City to its third consecutive loss and 13th in 16 games.
According to ESPN, Graham’s shot was the longest game-winning buzzer-beater in the NBA in the last 25 years. Additionally, ESPN noted that Wednesday’s thriller marked the first game in the last 25 seasons to feature two tying or go-ahead baskets of at least 30 feet in the final five seconds of a game.
Before Graham’s shot, Brandon Ingram (34 points) scored the Pelicans’ previous 10 points. He tied the game with a layup and then put the visitors ahead with a steal and a dunk on the next possession.
Jonas Valančiūnas had 19 points and 16 rebounds for New Orleans, while Graham added 15 points and eight assists.
Gilgeous-Alexander scored 33 points to lead the Thunder, making all nine of his free throws. In fact, Oklahoma City made all 19 of its free-throw tries — 14 in the fourth quarter.
The Thunder bench scored 52 points, including 17 from Kenrich Williams and 16 by Mike Muscala. Williams tied a career high with five 3-pointers.
Through three quarters, the Pelicans held a 26-5 edge in free-throw attempts. But in the fourth quarter, Oklahoma City got to the line repeatedly, including Muscala being fouled twice by Garrett Temple on 3-point tries during a 30-second stretch early in the fourth.
Going toe-to-toe with Ingram, Gilgeous-Alexander hit a 3-pointer with just under 30 seconds left to pull Oklahoma City within one. He then made a pair of free throws to keep the game within reach before drilling his fourth 3-pointer just before Graham’s desperation shot stunned the home crowd. — Reuters