Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's clutch bucket, Cason Wallace's defense earn Thunder dramatic Game 1 win

2024 NBA Playoffs- New Orleans Pelicans v Oklahoma City Thunder
2024 NBA Playoffs- New Orleans Pelicans v Oklahoma City Thunder

Earlier on Sunday, it was announced that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was one of the three finalists for the NBA’s Clutch Player of the Year Award.

Sunday night he showed why.

After a Chet Holmgren block preserved a tie, and with :32 seconds left in the game, SGA drew an and-1 — even if it was a home-court call — that ended up being the game-winner.

That left time for the Pelicans. CJ McCollum got to the rim for a bucket, then on the other end New Orleans fouled Chet Holmgren and he hit one of two free throws, making it 94-92 Oklahoma City with :14 seconds left. That's when rookie Cason Wallace's defense helped force McCollum into a tough shot that did not fall.

Oklahoma City now leads the series 1-0, with Game 2 on Wednesday.

Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 28 points but wasn't his usual efficient self getting there, shooting 11-of-24. Jalen Williams added 19 points and Chet Holmgren scored 15 with 11 rebounds in his first playoff game.

With Zion Williamson (hamstring) out the Pelicans were counting on a big night from Brandon Ingram, but the defense of Lu Dort and others held him to a dozen points on 5-of-17 shooting. Trey Murphy III led the way with 21 points, and McCollum scored 20.