OKLAHOMA CITY — It was supposed to be a lob play, instead it turned into the best shot of Anthony Davis’ career.
It was also the most unlikely.
Davis heaved up a double-clutch 3-pointer as time expired Friday to lift the New Orleans Pelicans past the Oklahoma City Thunder 116-113 at Chesapeake Energy Arena, adding another impressive play to his ever-growing resume.
It’s one he’s likely watching right now.
“I’ll probably watch it all night tonight until the game tomorrow,” Davis said. “But we’ve got to get ready for Chicago.”
The Pelicans (27-23) split the rare back-to-back matchup with the Thunder, this time surviving another career night from All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook and the return from injury of reigning MVP Kevin Durant.
Davis was the biggest reason, scoring 41 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Sixteen of his points came in the fourth to help the Pelicans avoid a late push from the Thunder, which had led by 12 in the third quarter before New Orleans went on a 14-0 run to end the third and start the fourth.
“That’s just a superstar shot,” Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson said. “You rarely see a shot like that go in. Leave it to Antony to make a ridiculous, double-clutch … it’s just crazy. He has the ability to make shots like that and it was an unbelievable superstar play.”
When the stat line pops up, the shot was even more improbable. Davis was 0-for-8 from 3-point range this season before the shot that happened only when the lob was not there.
“As soon as you think you’ve seen it all, there’s something else,” Anderson said.
Durant finished with 27 points in his return from a sprained toe, which forced him to miss four of the past five games.
But his sidekick Westbrook was incredible again for the Thunder, setting a new career high with 48 points after tying his career high Wednesday with 45 points.
He was very close to a triple-double, too, with 11 assists and nine rebounds.
“Yeah well we won, though,” Anderson said. “It’s Russell Westbrook. He’s a crazy player. He’s a superstar also. He’s going to make crazy plays. Make runs by himself. He’s nearly impossible to stop and for us we wanted to keep our heads and make big plays on the other end even if he scored.”
And the Pelicans certainly did that, setting up the final play after Westbrook tied the game with three free throws after being fouled on the tying shot attempt by Quincy Pondexter.
New Orleans remains one game behind the Phoenix Suns for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The lead over Oklahoma City (25-25) in the standings is now two games.
The two-game set was perhaps a preview of what a playoff series would be like, and Davis said he’s prepared for that.
“It felt like a playoff game,” he said. “I’ve never been in the playoffs — so I don’t know what it feels like — but I can imagine what a playoff game feels like. It came down to the wire. Both teams had something on the line and we’re just happy we came out with the win.”