Anthony Davis made arguably the best shot of the NBA season Friday, hitting a double-clutch three-pointer from the top of the key as time expired to lead the New Orleans Pelicans to a 116-113 win over the Thunder in Oklahoma City.
Davis’ shot broke a 113-113 tie and came with a Kevin Durant hand right in his face. It was Davis’ first three-point attempt of the season and gave him 41 points on 15-of-23 shooting to go with 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
“It was unbelievable,” Pelicans guard Quincy Pondexter said on Ferrall on the Bench. “You don’t see shots like that every day go in, especially for the game-winner with no time on the clock on the road.”
The Pelicans (27-23) have struggled away from home this season – they entered Friday 9-16 on the road – but overcame a lights-out performance from Russell Westbrook, who finished with 48 points on 15-of-28 shooting form the floor and 15-of-15 from the foul line. Kevin Durant added 27, meaning the dynamic duo combined for a whopping 75 points.
No matter. Davis, Tyreke Evans (22 points), Ryan Anderson (17) and Pondexter (15 points) combined for 95.
“This team has been really resilient and we’re playing great basketball,” Pondexter said. “We’re going to the All-Star break feeling good about ourselves. We got three more games to go, but we’re (playing) pretty well.”
New Orleans shot 48.2 percent from the floor, including an unreal 11-of-20 (55 percent) from three-point range, with Pondexter and Evans hitting three apiece.
No three, however, was big as Davis’, who was well beyond the line – and under heavy duress – when he let his shot fly.
“They actually did a great job of defending the play,” Pondexter said. “They really denied a lot of people the ball and somehow AD got open. Two guys contested it, and it was all bottoms. That just speaks to how great of a player he is. He came out with a great winning play at this time.”
New Orleans, which has won seven of nine, has three home games before the break: against Chicago (30-20) on Feb. 7, against Utah (17-33) on Feb. 9 and against Indiana (19-32) on Feb. 11. They open after the break at Orlando (16-37) on Feb. 20 and at Miami (21-29) on Feb. 21.