Gallinari, Paul push Thunder past Zion, Pelicans 123-118

The Thunder’s Chris Paul goes up for a basket against the Pelicans’ Derrick Favors during Thursday night’s game in New Orleans.

NEW ORLEANS — Danilo Gallinari scored 29 points, Chris Paul had 14 points and 12 assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the New Orleans Pelicans 123-118 on Thursday night.

Zion Williamson scored 32 points for New Orleans, his second straight game scoring more than 30, but Gallinari’s clutch shooting — he had 11 points in the fourth quarter — kept the Pelicans at bay.

New Orleans, which trailed by as many as 13 points in the third quarter, rallied behind Williamson’s dominant inside play to take several slim leads inside the final six minutes.

But after Lonzo Ball’s corner 3-pointer gave the Pelicans a 111-110 lead, Gallinari hit a fall-away shot in the paint and followed up by rattling in a 3. He added free throws and a left-wing basket in the final minutes, the last making it 121-115 with half a minute left.

Dennis Schroder scored 22 points for the Thunder and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 17 points. Thunder center Steven Adams capped his 11-point, 11-rebound, three-block night with a clutch jumper in the paint that made it 119-114.

J.J. Redick scored 24 points for the Pelicans, who saw their three-game winning streak snapped in a compelling, highlight-filled contest that saw 22 lead changes and 12 ties.

Both teams shot better than 48%, but New Orleans was done in by 17 turnovers that the Thunder converted into 24 points. Oklahoma City committed just nine turnovers.

Williamson delighted the crowd on both ends of the floor. He rejected Abdel Nader’s floater in the paint with a volleyball-style spike out of play. His dunks included one on a putback and another on an alley-oop feed from Frank Jackson.

Paul had nine of his assists in the opening two quarters, the last of those coming in a rather unusual way. Paul unloaded the ball to Adams in the backcourt in the final seconds of the half, and Adams hurled the ball right into the hoop from beyond midcourt.

The shot, which gave the Thunder a 66-58 lead, was the first 3-pointer of Adams’ career. He celebrated it with a brief, smiling shimmy before jogging with teammates toward the tunnel to the locker room.

Celtics 141, Clippers 133: BOSTON — In the last game before the All-Star break, Boston’s Jayson Tatum had a game-high 39 points and nine rebounds, and the Celtics grabbed a thrilling double-overtime victory over the Clippers. Lou Williams led Los Angeles with 35 points off the bench on 33 attempts. The Clippers’ Paul George left the game early with an injury.

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