Oklahoma completes sweep vs New Orleans, advances to semis

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander wins his first NBA playoff series (Stephen Lew/USA Today Sports)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The young Oklahoma City Thunder squad just exceeded the expectations of the majority after sweeping the more experienced New Orleans Pelicans to advance to the semifinal round of the ongoing NBA Playoffs.

After 48 minutes of a nip-and-tuck affair with the Pelicans, Oklahoma got the last laugh in Game 4 of their first-round matchup, 97-89, on April 30, 2024.

Facing a hostile environment in New Orleans, Oklahoma had to regroup midway in the game after the Pelicans struck first led by the paint dominance of veteran center Jonas Valanciunas.

New Orleans went early to their center every time he was matched up against Chet Holmgren, Oklahoma’s rookie who was way smaller than Valanciunas.

The exploited mismatch worked for a quarter for the Pelicans but after the duo of Jalen Williams and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander found their shooting stroke, Oklahoma quickly flipped the switch and traded several lead exchanges with New Orleans.

It was in the fourth quarter when the Thunder took control of the game. With the tremendous shot-making ability of Williams and Alexander, Oklahoma was able to maintain its lead in the crucial stretch of the final frame.

Josh Giddey, Oklahoma’s all-around swingman, also delivered when his team needed him the most after spearheading the Thunder’s scoring avalanche in the fourth.

With Oklahoma down by three points, 77-80, with eight minutes still left in the game, Giddey cashed in two consecutive three-pointers that gave the Thunder a three-point advantage, 83-80.

The Giddey rampage then ignited Oklahoma’s final scoring run, with the duo of Alexander and Williams taking over in the clutch.

Both Alexander and Williams each dropped 24 points for Oklahoma while Giddey added 14 markers derived from a 4/6 shooting from downtown.

Holmgren was also huge for the Thunder as the versatile big man tallied 14 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.

With the series win,  the Thunder will now await the winner between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks who are currently tied at 2-all.


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