If you were watching some NBA action on Saturday night, chances are you weren’t tuned in to the matchup between the New Orleans Pelicans and Phoenix Suns. So, like most people, you probably missed one of the most bizarre finishes to a game all season, as the Suns escaped with a 138-136 overtime victory.
After an exciting end to regulation, in which Julius Randle and Devin Booker traded baskets in the final minute, we went to overtime, where the Pelicans took a five-point lead with less than two minutes to play. The Suns quickly closed that gap with a couple of buckets, though, and this is where things started to get out of control.
Leading by one with just 15.4 seconds to play, Pelicans guard Frank Jackson got fouled, but made only one of the two free throws. Luckily, Randle grabbed the rebound of the second one, and a foul was called just a split second before he threw the ball away, giving the Pelicans two more free throws. But Randle only hit one of them as well, leaving the Pels up three with 12.8 seconds to go.
As the Suns inbounded the ball, Darius Miller tried to foul Devin Booker to make him shoot the free throws, but the refs ignored a clear foul, and Booker got himself open for a potential game-tying 3-pointer, only to catch all air. At this point, the Pelicans were up three, with the ball, and just 7.7 seconds to go. Surely, the game was in the bag, right? Not so, as they immediately turned it over with a five-second violation.
On the ensuing possession, the Pelicans made the smart play to foul, but they had one to give, so the Suns took it out of bounds again. For some reason, the Pels didn’t foul the second time, and Josh Jackson went down and drilled a miraculous 3-pointer to tie it with just seconds to play.
Wanting to set up a potential game-winning play, the Pelicans then called a timeout. The only thing was, they didn’t have any.
They were hit with a technical foul, a la Chris Webber and the Fab Five. Booker calmly stepped to the line and hit the free throw, putting the Suns ahead by one, and leaving the home New Orleans crowd in disbelief.
Due to the technical, the Suns then also got the ball. Jackson was immediately fouled on the inbounds, hit one of two free throws, and the game was over.
Congrats to the Pelicans on a truly incredible loss. That really took tanking to a new level.
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