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Short-handed Pelicans slip past Thunder in OT

Dec 23, 2022; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) is defended by New Orleans Pelicans forward Naji Marshall (8) during the first quarter at Paycom Center. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Trey Murphy III scored 23 points and Jaxson Hayes added a season-high 21 to lift the visiting New Orleans Pelicans to a 128-125 overtime victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday.

With 2.7 seconds remaining in OT, Hayes went to the free-throw line with New Orleans up by three and a chance to put the game away.

Hayes missed both free throws, and the ball bounded near midcourt into the hands of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The Oklahoma City guard turned, dribbled and quickly launched a shot from just inside the midcourt line that bounced off the rim to give the Pelicans the win.

Gilgeous-Alexander had a career-high 44 points, going 17 of 29 from the floor. He added 10 rebounds and six assists, but it wasn’t quite enough.

The Pelicans, playing without Zion Williamson (health and safety protocol) and Brandon Ingram (toe), built a 21-point lead in the first half, then fell behind by nine in the fourth quarter before turning things on again late.

A season ago, New Orleans was 7-20 without both Williamson and Ingram in the lineup.

This season, the Pelicans are 3-1 without the duo, including winning the past two.

The Thunder had their three-game winning streak end.

Oklahoma City dominated the third quarter to get back in the game.

The Pelicans still led by 18 more than four minutes into the second half before the Thunder closed the third with a 22-7 run.

Aleksej Pokusevski scored eight of the first 10 points in that run to help get Oklahoma City back within striking distance.

New Orleans shot just 25 percent from the floor the third.

The Thunder led by eight with less than three minutes remaining in regulation, but New Orleans closed regulation with a 10-2 run.

Herbert Jones’ driving layup with 25 seconds remaining tied it. The Thunder’s Tre Mann had a shot bounce off the rim just before the buzzer to send the game to overtime.

Pelicans guard CJ McCollum, who had been hot on offense of late, hit just 5 of 18 from the floor for 17 points but added 11 assists. Teammate Naji Marshall added 17 points and eight rebounds.

Josh Giddey scored 20 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for Oklahoma City, while Pokusevski finished with 17 points.

–Field Level Media