The NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder took on the New Orleans Pelicans and stepped up to the final gateway to advance to the playoffs (PO) after three years.
Oklahoma City defeated New Orleans 123-118 in the 2022-2023 NBA Play-In Tournament away game held at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA on the 13th (Korean time).
Oklahoma City, which entered the play-in tournament in 10th place in the Western Conference (40-42), now competes with the Minnesota Timberwolves (42-40), who are ranked 8th in the regular league, on the 14th for the PO last game.
Minnesota lost 102-108 in overtime to the 7th place Los Angeles (LA) Lakers (43-39) in the 7th seed match the previous day, and came down to the 8th seed match.
In the NBA, the 6th place in each conference goes directly to the PO, and the 7th to 10th place teams play a play-in tournament to determine the two teams that receive tickets to the PO.
If they win the next game, Oklahoma City will step on the PO stage after 3 years.
Oklahoma City, which has advanced to PO for five consecutive seasons from the 2015-2016 season, has seen the fruits of its focus on team reconstruction instead of immediate results from the 2020-2021 season.
On the other hand, New Orleans, who took the 8th seed last season and reached the PO for the first time in 4 years, was ranked 9th (42-40) this season as well, but suffered a defeat in the play-in tournament.
The player who led Oklahoma City to the 8th seed match was Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who had struggled as an ace the past two seasons as they fell to 14th in the West.
Gilgeous Alexander, who ranked 4th in average scoring (31.4 points) in the regular league this season, led the offense with 32 points that day as well.
Gilgeous Alexander, who succeeded in getting 8 free throws, added up to 3 steals and played an active role in defense.
Oklahoma City, without a solid big man, was pushed to 38-48 in rebounding, especially struggling under the net, giving up 18 rebounds to opposing center Jonas Balansunas.
It was the performance of the guards led by Gilgeous Alexander that overturned the inferiority in the goal.
Josh Guiddy, who started as a point guard, also had a triple-double performance with 31 points, 10 assists and 9 rebounds, and Lugenz Dolt, who succeeded in 3 points and 4 shots, added 27 points.
In New Orleans, ace Brandon Ingram struggled with 30 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds, but could not prevent defeat.
In the Eastern Conference, the 10th place Chicago Bulls (40-42) defeated the 9th place Toronto Raptors (41-41) 109-105 on the road. 먹튀검증
Now, Chicago will play against the 7th ranked Miami Heat (44-38), who lost 105-116 to the 8th ranked Atlanta Hawks (41-41) the previous day, for the 8th seed on the 14th.
On the other hand, Toronto, which went straight to PO last season in 5th place, turned around ahead of spring basketball this season.
Jack Lavigne, who made 15 free throws with aggressive breakthroughs, scored 39 points and became the No. 1 contributor to Chicago’s victory. The Derma Draw also added 23 points.
It was a free throw and an error that caught Toronto’s ankle.
Toronto, who got 36 free throws and missed half of them, 18, made 14 errors and missed the victory even after taking a double-digit lead in the first half.
Pascal Siakam scored 32 points and 9 rebounds, and Fred VanVleet contributed 26 points and 12 rebounds, but it did not prevent Toronto from being eliminated from the play-in tournament.