Thunder edge Pelicans in thriller

The Philippine Star
Thunder edge Pelicans in thriller
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder brings the ball up court against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first half in Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs at the Paycom Center on April 21, 2024 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Cooper Neill / Getty Images / AFP

MANILA, Philippines —  Shai Gilgeous-Alexander drained a go-ahead basket with 32.5 seconds left on Sunday as Western Conference top seeds Oklahoma City clawed out a 94-92 victory over New Orleans in their NBA playoff opener.

The Pelicans were missing star Zion Williamson because of a hamstring strain but they refused to buckle at Oklahoma’s Paycom Center.

A pulsating contest featured 20 lead changes and was a marked contrast to the wins posted earlier by the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers.

The Celtics, fueled by Jayson Tatum’s first career playoff triple-double, parlayed a 14-0 start to a 114-94 victory over the Miami Heat.

The Clippers shrugged off the absence of Kawhi Leonard, bullying the Mavs early on the way to a 109-97 victory.

In Milwaukee, Damian Lillard scored all 35 of his points in the first half as the Bucks built a 69-42 halftime lead and beat the Indiana Pacers, 109-94.

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