OKLAHOMA CITY — For the second time in as many games, Oklahoma City star Russell Westbrook had his way with the New Orleans Pelicans.
But MVP candidate Anthony Davis was just a tad better this time.
Davis nailed a 30-foot 3-pointer in double coverage as time expired to salvage a two-game split with Oklahoma City in a 116-113 victory Friday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Davis caught an inbound pass with 1.2 seconds left and threw up the shot before the buzzer. This came after Westbrook set his career high in points for the second straight game with three game-tying free throws to set up the final play.
The Pelicans now remain ahead of Oklahoma City in the playoff picture and hold the tiebreaker by virtue of winning the season series 3-1.
And this one took some impressive play down the stretch.
The Pelicans built a seven-point lead late in the game, only to watch Westbrook and reigning MVP Kevin Durant battle back for the Thunder.
New Orleans also caught a break with 4:36 left when officials ruled Oklahoma City had too many players on the court after tying the score at 98, resulting in a technical foul that led to Davis making a free throw. The Pelicans never trailed again.
Davis finished with 41 points and 10 rebounds, adding to his impressive MVP résumé. Tyreke Evans followed with 22 points, while Anderson and Quincy Pondexter added 17 and 15.
Westbrook, who scored 45 in Wednesday’s win, followed that with 48 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds.
Durant, who missed the previous game with a sprained toe, finished with 27 points and missed multiple go-ahead shots in the final seconds.
New Orleans used 14-0 run at the end of the third quarter that extended into the fourth to take control of the game and overcome a slow, sloppy start in the first half.
Oklahoma City led by 12 in the third, too, its largest lead since an early 11-point advantage in the first quarter.
In the first quarter, the Pelicans looked like the same team that struggled in the second half Wednesday, failing to contain Westbrook and get any rhythm offensively.
But Davis was there to provide some stability, leading the way for a rally that tied the score at 50 late in the second half before Oklahoma City ended the half on a 6-3 run.
New Orleans returns home Saturday to host the Chicago Bulls.