US basketball

Graham buries 61-foot prayer at the buzzer as Pelicans stun Thunder

Reuters
Graham buries 61-foot prayer at the buzzer as Pelicans stun Thunder

CLUTCH. Devonte' Graham stars, firing a miracle shot for the Pelicans.

Daniel Dunn/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Pelicans guard Devonte' Graham nails the longest game-winning buzzer-beater in the NBA in the last 25 years

Devonte’ Graham made one of the greatest game-winning buzzer-beaters in 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, December 15 (Thursday, December 16, Manila time).

Just moments before Graham’s heave from three-quarters court, the Thunder’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander nailed a deep three-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 three-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 Valancuinas had 19 points and 16 rebounds for New Orleans, while Graham added 15 points and 8 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’s bench scored 52 points, including 17 from Kenrich Williams and 16 by Mike Muscala. Williams tied a career high with five three-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 three-point tries during a 30-second stretch early in the fourth.

Going toe-to-toe with Ingram, Gilgeous-Alexander hit a triple 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 three-pointer just before Graham’s desperation shot stunned the home crowd. – Rappler.com